A hacker intruded through the systems of Vodafone in Germany bypassing all security deadlocks and gained access to the main servers. The pirate targeted the subscriber database and managed to copy the personal data of approximately 2 million customers, the operator said on Thursday.
“The intruder gained access to names, addresses and bank account-numbers of customers,” revealed the company, adding that “the person had no password security number or authorization for data connection.”
However, Vodafone estimates that the incident is of minor importance, as it is not possible the retrieved data to be of any criminal use to the hacker. “It’s almost impossible to use the data for direct access to the bank accounts of those affected,” Vodafone claimed, in a statement circulated among the German media.
Privacy and personal data are very sensitive issues in Germany, due in part to a history of despotic surveillance on citizens under communist Germany and Hitler’s Nazism. Moreover, the incident comes only weeks after espionage cases and monitoring on communications were the main headlines on all German newspapers, after confidential documents provided by the former NSA consultant, Edward Snowden, leaked to the Press.
Vodafone warned its customers that criminals could try to get more information about passwords and credit cards through attacks called “phishing” or fake emails to match the material already in hand.
Nevertheless, the company reassured its subscribers that is working with the police to further investigate the matter, and has already blocked the method and connections used by the hacker to get into central servers.