AT&T: Equifax breach did not reach our systems, but did impact some businesses, consumers

FICO, identity theft, bank fraud, credit card theft, terrorism, cybersecurity
Equifax last week announced that it had suffered a cyberattack that potentially compromised the personal information of about 143 million U.S. consumers.

As AT&T assesses Equifax’s recent cyber breach, the service provider said there was no breach of its systems or of the data it maintains and that the perpetrators targeted only Equifax systems.

Still, the service provider noted that the breach impacted current and former consumer and business customers.

“There was no breach of AT&T systems or the data we maintain and the perpetrators targeted only Equifax systems,” AT&T said in a statement. “However, we understand that the impacts include current and former consumer and business customers of AT&T.”

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On Thursday last week, Equifax announced that it had suffered a cyberattack that potentially compromised the personal information of about 143 million U.S. consumers. Equifax said the attack began in May and exposed personal data such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, birth dates and addresses.

While the Equifax breach is not as large as recent breaches at Yahoo—where cyberattacks affected the information of as many as 1.5 billion customers—the Wall Street Journal reported that the Equifax breach involves nearly twice the number affected by the cyberattack at JP Morgan Chase about three years ago.

According to the WSJ report, the Equifax breach potentially compromised personal information of roughly 143 million U.S. consumers—about 55% of Americans ages 18 and older.

Things don’t look too good for Equifax. Following the security breach, a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in Portland, Oregon, federal court. In a Bloomberg report, plaintiffs accused Equifax of not doing enough to protect consumer data, choosing to save money instead of spending on security technology that could have prevented the attack from happening.

AT&T itself has been a major advocate of cybersecurity efforts. The service provider has eight global security operation centers and holds 179 security and privacy patents. In order to keep up with new threats, AT&T has a “fleet” of cybersecurity experts, and it is actively training and retraining employees to increase its security staff.

AT&T said that on an average day the telco’s security experts see more than 30 billion vulnerability scans and 400 million spam messages "cross its global IP network every day." Unsurprisingly, the rise of Internet of things (IoT) devices over the past three years has driven a 3,198% rise in vulnerability scans.