If Apple is the savvy and near-perfect hero in the technology world, then AT&T is undoubtedly the goofy sidekick who always drags the duo into trouble. For years, AT&T has embarrassed itself and Apple with shoddy service that inspired a group of users to try to revolt and bring down the entire phone network. But as bad as that is, it pales in comparison to AT&T’s newest blunder.
Yesterday afternoon, Gawker.com reported that a security breach at AT&T (Stock Quote: T) had leaked the e-mail addresses of nearly 114,000 iPad users, including many well-known figures like Diane Sawyer, Michael Bloomberg and even Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff for President Obama. “The specific information exposed in the breach included subscribers' email addresses, coupled with an associated ID used to authenticate the subscriber on AT&T's network, known as the ICC-ID,” Gawker reports.
The group that managed to breach AT&T’s security was called Goatse Security, which claims to have done this as part of its campaign to expose “gaping holes” in digital security. While this may be an extreme tactic, the episode did highlight AT&T’s flimsy security precautions.
Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) has remained silent about this episode, but AT&T has since responded, confessing that there was a security “gap” which allowed Goatse to unearth an iPad’s ID number and link that to the e-mail address that was used to register the device originally. “This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday; and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses,” the company said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. The company also tried to assure these users that there is “no evidence” that any other information besides their e-mails was leaked.
For the time being, AT&T is planning to contact customers who have had their information leaked. If you are affected by this, you can either switch to a new e-mail address, or start relying more heavily on your spam filters to block out any unwanted e-mails. Also, as ABC News points out, this incident highlights the importance of using an alternate e-mail address when registering new devices and doing business with companies. This is the best way to ensure that your personal e-mail remains safe.