Unknown hackers are breaking into the accounts of people who have AT&T email addresses, and using that access to then hack into the victim’s cryptocurrency exchange’s accounts and steal their crypto, TechCrunch has learned.
At the beginning of the month, an anonymous source told TechCrunch that a gang of cybercriminals have found a way to hack into the email addresses of anyone who has an att.net, sbcglobal.net, bellsouth.net and other AT&T email addresses.
According to the tipster, the hackers are able to do that because they have access to a part of AT&T’s internal network, which allows them to create mail keys for any user. Mail keys are unique credentials that AT&T email users can use to log into their accounts using email apps such as Thunderbird or Outlook, but without having to use their passwords.
The tipster provided a list of alleged victims. Two of the victims replied, confirming they have been hacked.
AT&T spokesperson Jim Kimberly said that the company “identified the unauthorized creation of secure mail keys, which can be used in some cases to access an email account without needing a password.”
“We have updated our security controls to prevent this activity. As a precaution, we also proactively required a password reset on some email accounts,” the spokesperson said, forcing the account owners to reset their passwords.
AT&T declined to say how many people have been hit in this wave of hacks. “This process wiped out any secure mail keys that had been created,” the spokesperson added.
“Very frustrating because it is obvious that the ‘hackers’ have direct access to the database or files containing these customer Outlook keys, and the hackers don’t need to know the user’s AT&T website login to access and change these outlook login keys,” the victim added.
“Hello, my email was compromised back in March of this year and I have done everything I can to reset password, security questions, etc but occasionally I’m still getting emails that a secure mail key has been created on my account without my knowledge,” one user wrote. “They would even delete the email notification so I don’t see it but I recently changed to another email for profile updates so they don’t have access. This sounds like someone still has access to my account but how?”
The tipster claims that the hackers can “reset any” AT&T email account, and that they have made between $15 and $20 million in stolen crypto. (TechCrunch could not independently verify the tipster’s claim.)
TechCrunch has seen a screenshot apparently coming from a Telegram group chat, where one of the hackers claims that the gang “have the entire AT&T employee database,” which allows them to access an internal AT&T portal for employees called OPUS.
“Only thing we are missing is a certificate, which is the last key to accessing the [AT&T] VPN servers,” the hacker wrote in the Telegram channel, according to the screenshot.
Kimberly, the AT&T’s spokesperson, denied that the hackers had any access to internal company systems. “There was no intrusion into any system for this exploit. The bad actors used an API access.”