T-Mobile Secretly Bought Its Customer Data From Hackers To Stop Leak. It Failed

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Image: SOPA Images/Contributor

Last year, T-Mobile confirmed it was breached after hackers offered to sell the personal data of 30 million of its customers for 6 bitcoin worth around $270,000 at the time. According to court documents unsealed today and reviewed by Motherboard, a third-party hired by T-Mobile tried to pay the hackers for exclusive access to that data and limit it from leaking more widely.

The plan ultimately failed, and the criminals continued to sell the data despite the third-party giving them a total of $200,000. But the news unearths some of the controversial tactics that might be used by companies as they respond to data breaches, either to mitigate the leak of stolen information or in an attempt to identify who has breached their networks.

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T-Mobile did not respond to a request for comment on whether it was aware the third-party it hired had paid cybercriminals hundreds of thousands of dollars to stop leaking their data.

Do you work in incident response? We’d love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on jfcox@jabber.ccc.de, or email joseph.cox@vice.com.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Diogo Santos Coelho, who it alleges is the administrator of a popular hacking site called RaidForums. Law enforcement also uploaded a banner

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