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AT and T Hacking Attempt Nets No Sensitive Data

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on November 22, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A warning for cell phone subscribers using AT&T: Hackers attempted -- and failed -- to reach out and touch some of your personal data.

The "organized" hacking attempt affected less than 1 percent of AT&T's cellular customers, a spokesman told The Washington Post. AT&T is the nation's second-largest mobile carrier with 100 million subscribers.

Affected customers were notified by email Monday. AT&T said customer data was not accessed, but warned users they may still be at increased risk for email or text-based scams.

The attempted AT&T hackers tried to use "auto script" technology to link AT&T cellular numbers with online accounts, the spokesman said. AT&T technicians detected the attack and thwarted it, he said, though he declined to elaborate. AT&T is now trying to track down the attempted hackers.

This is the second high-profile AT&T hacking attempt in as many years. In 2010, two men hacked into AT&T's servers and stole the email addresses of more than 110,000 iPad users, the Post reports. Victims included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The alleged hackers -- Andrew Auernheimer, 25, of Arkansas, and Daniel Spitler, 26, of California -- were charged with identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers connected to the Internet, PC Magazine reports. Each charge carries up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

This latest AT&T hacking attempt is also one of several high-profile incidents in 2011. Other hacking attacks this year have targeted the Sony PlayStation Network, the Steam online gaming forums, and even a water utility in Illinois, PC Magazine reports.

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