Old truism: “Nothing's certain except death and taxes.”
New truism: “Nothing's certain except death, taxes and you're at risk because hackers hacked into some motherhacking database with your information on it somewhere.”
Have you ever in your life paid for anything with a credit or debit card? Even if you personally followed every single “protect your card numbers from being stolen” rule, you're still at risk if hackers break into the database of the card company itself, or any of the banks which handle those accounts, or any of the stores or websites where you've spent money, or any of the major credit-monitoring bureaus, or any of the branches and bureaucracies found within your local, state or federal government.
Still not safe
Even if you're the stubborn cash-only sort who shrugs off word of credit or debit-card threats because you don't have one anyway, you're still not safe if you've ever patronized any sort of business; even an activity as innocuous as ordering a pizza can put you at risk of having your private details published for the whole Internet to see.
And of course any sort of cell or smartphone account will put you at risk of hackers breaking not just into your own phone, but into the phone company itself, and the latest such incident comes from AT&T;, which on June 12 confirmed that they'd suffered a security breach two months ago.
The next day, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that:
The breach was discovered May 19, and AT&T; believes the data was accessed in an attempt to unlock phones for secondary market resale, the publication CSO reported.
AT&T; Mobility filed a breach notification in California this week, CSO reported. From April 9 until April 21, one of AT&T;’s third-party providers violated the company's security and privacy guidelines and was accessing customer data.
AT&T; says in the notification that the stolen information includes Social Security numbers and call records.
AT&T; did not say how many customers were affected, nor did it say why it waited almost a month after discovering the breach to bother notifying anybody.
But if you have an AT&T; account, or had one in April, bear in mind there's a higher-than-usual chance your Social Security numbers and call history are in the hands of whoever it was that hacked into AT&T; two months ago.
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