We are hearing so many news about the hacking of Iranian websites recently, and now it’s mobile operator’s turn. Yesterday Irancell’s database got hacked and 20M users’ information got leaked on the net. This might be the biggest hack ever happened in Iran.
Iran is becoming more online each second, people are tech-savvy and are into gadgets to the point that there are 40M smartphones in the hands of Iranians right now. Just imagine half of the population have smartphones which create a huge market for the mobile network operators and the m-commerce sector. With this smartphone penetration, people expect the operators to be careful with their private data but it seems that even a big mobile operator like Irancell shouldn’t be trusted lightly.
Irancell is the second largest mobile operator in Iran. It is 49% owned by the South Africa-based MTN Group. They worked really good in this sector to the point that they brought competition to the market and shook MCI, the largest mobile network operator Iran. But we can’t say that they are good in security and in keeping their users’ data safe.
So What’s the Story?
Last night we got a message that there is this bot in Telegram messaging app named @MTNProBot that you could insert an Irancell phone number and it could provide you the personal information of the owner such as first and last name, landline phone number, national code, city, Address and postal code.
We wanted to check if this bot is legit so we tried our own Irancell cell phone numbers and guess what? it was legit. But there was a problem in between. The database was hacked three years ago and it was being sold to the private advertising agencies or any entity that needed these kind of informations. So the database was outdated and you might have got the information of the previous owner of a cell phone number. This database has the data of cell phone numbers that start with 935, 936, 937, 938 and 939. The bot that was leaking the data to the public also got banned by telegram in only a few hours and it was deleted just today.
One other important thing to discuss here is that MTN wants to get shares from Iranian Net for involving itself with Iran’s national fiber optic project. Having the second largest mobile network operator in Iran and getting your hands on the country’s fiber optic project completes MTN’s value chain. But it’s not clear yet how the company which couldn’t protect its own data wants to get involved with another massive project such as Iran’s national fiber optic project.
Let us know what you think, and please share your opinions in the comment section with us.