AT&T hack exposes 19,000 identities

Hackers access personal data on thousands of customers who used the carrier's online store.

AT&T on Tuesday said hackers broke into one of its computer systems and accessed personal data on thousands of customers who used its online store.

The information that was illegally accessed includes credit card numbers, AT&T said in a statement. The cyberattack affects about 19,000 customers who purchased equipment for high-speed DSL Internet connections through AT&T's Web site, the company said.

"We deeply regret this incident," Priscilla Hill-Ardoin, chief privacy officer for AT&T, said in the statement. "We will work closely with law enforcement to bring these data thieves to account."

The break-in occurred over the weekend and was discovered within hours, after which the online store was shut down, AT&T said. The telecommunications company quickly notified credit card companies and is in the process of contacting the affected customers via e-mail, phone and letter, it said.

The incident is the latest in a long string of data security breaches . Since early last year, more than 90 million personal records have been exposed in dozens of incidents, according to information compiled by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

AT&T is offering to pay for credit monitoring services for customers whose accounts have been impacted because they could be at risk of identity fraud . The company also has made available a toll-free number to affected customers to call for more information.

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