While it remains difficult to anticipate just how much damage the hacking incident first reported on August 15
and confirmed two days later
will cause to T-Mobile's brand reputation and subscriber numbers both in the short and long run, the "Un-carrier" is certainly trying its best to leave the security breach in the past and look towards a hopefully quieter future.
After initially announcing a tally of close to 48 million current, former, and prospective customers impacted by the "criminal" cyberattack purportedly executed by a 21-year-old hacker with distressing ease
and then bumping up that figure to around 54 million, Magenta now claims its internal investigation into this debacle is "substantially complete."
If you haven't been notified yet, you're probably in the clear
Today's good news is delivered by none other than Mike Sievert
, the man who had to fill John Legere's CEO shoes
shortly after the mega-merger between T-Mobile and Sprint was finalized last year. This is basically the first big PR crisis for the fastest-growing US wireless service provider since Sievert took command of the ship, and as apologies go, let's just say we've heard worse.
Of course, it would have been more fitting to see the words "truly sorry" plastered over T-Mo's website and retail stores a little earlier rather than Sievert burying them at the end of the... third paragraph in his latest company blog post.
Mike Sievert probably hasn't done a lot of smiling in the last couple of weeks or so
But hey, that's definitely better than nothing, and for what it's worth, the statement does open with what sounds like a fairly sincere description of the last two weeks as "humbling" for everyone at T-Mobile.
What most people worried about the security of their personal information are likely to take away from this update is that "just about every current T-Mobile customer or primary account holder who had data such as name and current address, social security number, or government ID number compromised" has been alerted of their unfortunate involvement in this unprecedented hack.
In other words, you should probably stop worrying (or at least reduce your worrying) if you have yet to receive such a notification while continuing to keep an eye on your inbox and MyT-Mobile.com account for just a little bit longer.
The latter's login page is where Magenta will display a banner for customers believed to have had no data compromised in this particular attack, mind you, so be sure to look for that as well. Unfortunately, as you can imagine, the process of informing victims who are no longer with T-Mobile
or never subscribed to the "Un-carrier" in the first place is a tad trickier, although the wireless industry giant is also "working diligently" to get that done as soon as possible.
What happens now?
Obviously, T-Mo would very much like it if you instantly forgot about the incident reportedly caused by some truly laughable security measures imposed by a company that went through something similar (but of much smaller proportions) no less than two different time
s in the last two years alone
Because that's clearly not possible, especially if another data breach were to happen in another one or two years, Mike Sievert is vowing his company will do better in the future to protect you from "commonplace" but unacceptable cyberattacks of this sort.
While that sounds like the kind of empty promise that's thrown around every single time something like this goes down, T-Mobile is announcing a couple of specific new protection measures, entering into "long-term" partnerships with the "industry-leading" cybersecurity experts at Mandiant and consulting firm KPMG LLG, a "recognized global leader in cybersecurity consulting."
Mandiant has actually been an integral part of the forensic investigation T-Mobile is looking to finalize in the near future, presumably helping the operator close the vulnerable access points used by the bad actor Sievert refuses to name before signing this long-term agreement designed to make it far more difficult for hackers to jeopardize your privacy going forward.
Naturally, only time will tell if T-Mo is truly determined to take security vulnerabilities seriously at last, but if enraging 48 million people
and possibly scaring many millions more doesn't get the carrier there, nothing will.