Hackers Gained Access to Sprint Customer Accounts via Samsung Site

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As reported on Tuesday, July 16, Sprint has confirmed that a data breach took place through  Samsung’s website, in which hackers were able to access customers’ accounts. There is no detail on how many of such accounts were breached through this occurrence.

The data breach took place on June 22nd, to which Sprint had notified consumers that information such as first and last names, billing addresses, phone numbers, account numbers and more were compromised. According to a statement provided through their website, Sprint stated how the information collected by hackers does not allot for the possibility of fraud or identity theft to occur. After the breach, Sprint had “taken appropriate action” in securing customer accounts to avoid another mishap such as this from happening again. The carrier company also noted how fraudulent activity has yet to be detected. 

On June 25th, Sprint had reset its customers’ Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) in case hackers had breached consumer accounts through PIN. Hackers could have likely gained access to account PINs via a Boost Mobile breach that occurred back in March (Boost Mobile uses Sprint’s network). 

Sprint’s spokesperson emailed CNET stating that “credit card and social security numbers are encrypted and were not compromised” when the data breach happened. Another spokesperson from Samsung had stated that fraudulent activity was detected through hackers using Sprint account information on Samsung’s main website. The spokesperson continues: “We deployed measures to prevent further attempts of this kind on Samsung.com and no Samsung user account information was accessed as part of these attempts.”

iPhones Set to Upgrade to 5G by 2020

As the saying goes: out with the old, and in with the new. 5G connectivity is coming to wireless carriers soon, as Motorola, LG, and OnePlus all plan to make the shift in 2019. As for iPhone users, 5G may not be available until 2020, as reports suggest. The upgraded cellular network system is said to have faster download speeds, a feature we all can appreciate.

A report from Fast Company places the timing for the new phone release in 2020, further stating that an Intel 8161 5G modem chip is to be used rather than the 8060 5G chip. Sources stated that the 8060 5G chip was causing heating issues for the phone, to which Apple still needs to address. As a backup solution to implementing 5G, Apple has been working with MediaTek for potentially using their chips instead.

The 2018 iPhones currently use Intel’s modems, but reports state that the 2020 models will discontinue using Intel’s Bluetooth and WiFi chips.

In a comment to The Verge, Intel explained how their 5G plans with Apple “have not changed for 2018 through 2020,” further saying that they “remain committed to [their] 5G plans and projects” with their customers.

Time will tell which chips Apple decides to use for their future iPhone models, but for now we’re excited to hear about this change in cellular networking.

Google to Offer Cell Phone Service

As if Google didn’t have enough new ventures on its plate, soon the company will be launching a hybrid cellular/Wi-Fi network. Google SVP, Sundar Pichai, announced plans for the new network at a Mobile World Congress event this week in Barcelona, Spain.

The initiative, dubbed “Project Nova,” will take advantage of both cell towers and WiFi hotspots, switching between whichever Internet source is readily available. The cellular half of the network will utilize other carriers’ existing cell tower infrastructures- most likely those on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks. 

Pichai made it clear that the main goal of the project is not to operate on the scale of major U.S. carriers. Project Nova will start out small and focus on introducing wireless technology innovation that major players in the industry have yet to experiment with- “…so people will see what we’re doing”; a plan echoing the objectives of Google’s Fiber initiative. 

Despite his statement, Google is no stranger to mobile and telecommunications. If there is any company primed to compete in the wireless service space, Google would be our best bet.

According to Gartner, Google’s Linux-based mobile OS, Android, a favorite among developers, was the OEM on 80% of total global smartphone sales in 2014.

In terms of hardware, Google’s Nexus line of smartphones was launched in 2010 with five generations following initial release. Google even acquired Motorola Mobility in 2012 to gain ownership of its patents then sold the company to Lenovo in 2014. Looking forward, Google’s open hardware initiative, Project Ara, while still in development, seems like a perfect partner for an all-inclusive service provider that could disrupt the industry.

Google is also in the VOIP space, with Google Talk, a service that provides a U.S. phone number complete with voicemail, free texting, call history, conference calling, screening, blocking, and video conferencing integrated with Google+ Hangouts.

Pichai’s announcement is big news for the Mobile world. It will be interesting to see whether or not it’s enough to influence major carriers to explore and implement improved services for their customers.