CBx Daily

T-Mobile’s Hack Of 50 Million Users Leaves Black Community At Risk

Sep 3

By CultureBanx Team

  • T-Mobile has nearly notified all of the 50M customers whose personal data was stolen
  • Black people are 53% more likely to claim a data breach led to a loss or decrease in business

T-Mobile claims it has notified nearly all of the 50 million customers whose personal data was stolen in the company’s largest ever data breach. Currently it has 38% of the U.S. prepaid market, and if you look at the breakdown by race, 14% of T-Mobile users are Black, according to Nielsen. When it comes to data breaches they are often more problematic for people of color living on fixed or low incomes, therefore mitigating widespread damage from this data breach to these communities is imperative for T-Mobile to restore consumer confidence.

Why This Matters: This is the fifth such incident the wireless carrier has suffered in the past three years, so clearly these situations are a persistent problem. Situations like these have a negative impact on Black people are 53% more likely to claim a data breach led to a loss or decrease in business, according to a report from the Rand Corporation. People of color often fall victim to incorrect or stolen information that in turn can have long-term crippling effects.

T-Mobile disclosed in August that the names, Social Security numbers and information from driver’s licenses or other identification of just over 40 million people who applied for T-Mobile credit were exposed in the data breach. Additionally,  data for around 7.8 million monthly for phone service users also appeared to be compromised.

CEO Mike Sievert said the company has notified “just about every” current customer who was affected, and is now doing the same for former customers and prospective customers who might have supplied some personal information in applying for an account.

The main issue with Sivert’s “just about every” customer is truly alarming, especially for communities of color. When it comes to receiving notifications of a breach, 49% of white people reported receiving significantly more notifications than all other ethnic groups. In particular, they reported receiving twice as many notifications as Black people at 24%, according to the Rand Corporation report. This is extremely important data for T-Mobile to take into account during its customer outreach.

Situational Awareness: The Wall Street Journal in which John Binns, a 21-year-old American hacker living in Turkey, told the newspaper he was responsible for the hack and blamed T-Mobile’s lax security for making this breach possible. Unfortunately, the ease in which he was able to get into their systems leaves the  future of marginalized consumers, such as ethnic and racial minorities when it comes to these types of data breaches, extremely uncertain.

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