Experian breach exposed data from about 15M T-Mobile customers, credit card info not part of hacker’s haul
Morning Brief: President challenges the media to compare the number of deaths in the US caused by terrorism with the number caused by gun violence, the Post quickly responds
The mobile carrier T-Mobile has suffered a massive data breach, thought the fault likely lies with Experian, the Dublin-based credit services company.
“The investigation is ongoing, but what we know right now is that the hacker acquired the records of approximately 15 million people, including new applicants requiring a credit check for service or device financing from September 1, 2013 through September 16, 2015. These records include information such as name, address and birthdate as well as encrypted fields with Social Security number and ID number (such as driver’s license or passport number), and additional information used in T-Mobile’s own credit assessment. Experian has determined that this encryption may have been compromised.”
The good news, one supposes, is that no credit card information was compromised, that information being segregated from other data. The bad news is that T-Mobile is at the center of the data breach and will likely suffer the consequences, even though its was the fault of their vendor.
“It’s tempting to consider this breach a lesser risk because no credit card data was compromised, but the loss of this type of personal information can lead to identity theft,” said Tim Erlin director of IT security and risk strategy, Tripwire. “It can be both difficult and costly for consumers to recover when their identity is stolen.”
“Obviously I am incredibly angry about this data breach and we will institute a thorough review of our relationship with Experian, but right now my top concern and first focus is assisting any and all consumers affected,” said T-Mobile’s Leger.
Following the mass shooting in Oregon yesterday, President Obama spoke at the White House once again about the need for gun legislation. In his short address, he expressed frustration with the fact that he has repeated had to speak on the issue of mass killings and guns, yet no action has been taken to curb easy access to guns.
“Somehow this has become routine,” the President said. “The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this.”
He then challenged the media to compare the number of deaths from gun violence in the US to those from terrorism.
“I would ask news organizations — because I won’t put these facts forward — have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence, and post those side-by-side on your news reports. This won’t be information coming from me; it will be coming from you,” said the President.
It didn’t take long for The Washington Post to do just that, with several Post reporters tweeting out charts the paper had produced recently that spoke of the huge difference between the number of deaths attributed to terrorism versus the number involving gun violence, including the chart seen at right.
The Post’s Wonkblog also this morning also reproduced a calendar that chronicles the frequency of mass killings in the US, at least one per week this year, 295 such killings in the past 274 days.
The point the President was making is that terrorism is front page news, with billions spent to combat it, yet gun violence is overwhelming and little is done to curb it.
“We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so,” said the President. “And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”
A less than stellar jobs report has Wall Street on edge. Dow futures are down over 200 points, as the markets are set to open.
While the jobless rate held steady at 5.1 percent, U.S. employers added only 142,000 jobs in September, far below expectations, and not nearly enough to meet demand from those looking for work.
Meanwhile, despite an economy limping along, pressure continues to build from some quarters to raise interest rates. Fed Chair Janet Yellen recently confirmed that interest rates will rise before the end of the year. Those arguing against a rate hike fear any interest rate increases could throw the US back into recession, or at least curb growth and increase unemployment.
As it is, expectations are that 2016 may see more layoffs as employers have been adding positions throughout 2015, and are not seeing that demand has been sufficient to justify the higher payroll levels.
Several major newspaper and magazine companies are rumored to be soon announcing staff cutbacks as publishers look to lower costs heading into the new year.