FRANKFURT, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Thieves have hijacked sensitive data on millions of Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE) mobile phone customers, the German company has acknowledged in its second major security scandal this year.
The incident stems from a theft of data in 2006 that only came to light now in a report by Der Spiegel magazine released ahead of publication on Monday. The magazine said it was able to track down information on 17 million Telekom mobile users.
“Apart from names, addresses and cell phone numbers, the data, in some cases, also include the date of birth or e-mail addresses,” Deutsche Telekom said at the weekend. “The records do not contain bank details, credit card numbers or call data.”
Deutsche Telekom said it reported the theft to prosecutors in early 2006 and had found no evidence that the records were used to harass users or were otherwise abused by the thieves.
The data could nonetheless pose a security threat for prominent politicians, business leaders and clergy whose personal details leaked out.
The interior ministry has asked investigators to analyse the potential danger to several people, a ministry spokeswoman said, but she declined to give any more details.
Telekom said it had tightened security since the theft. It offered to let mobile phone customers change their numbers at no charge and set up a toll-free hotline to handle queries.
The case generated more bad headlines for Deutsche Telekom, which in May said it uncovered illegal monitoring in 2005 of call records amid claims management spied on rebel directors and journalists to find out who was leaking information.
Prosecutors have opened an investigation in that case. (Reporting by Jonathan Gould and Michael Shields; Editing by Erica Billingham)