T-Mobile is trying to put an end to data theft by notifying customers it believes are stealing data. The company’s CEO, John Legere, confirmed plans to crack down on data thieves in a recent blog post. He claimed the carrier will contact a small group of people believed to be stealing data because if their activities are left unchecked, it could negatively impact honest customers.
T-Mobile customers said to scam the system
T-Mobile offers “unlimited” high-speed data with an extra 7GB a month of tethering, a feature enabling users to use their phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot for internet access on other devices like laptops or tablets, but it is limited. Scammers rig the system by purchasing unlimited 4G data plans in order to receive a fixed amount of free data but then find ways to milk the tethering capabilities to steal up to 2 terabytes (2,000 gigabytes) of data per month.
Legere added that the violators are going the extra mile to seek new ways to steal more data. Users hack through the system in a variety ways. They can download apps to conceal tethered data usage. Hackers sometimes use rooted phones or a special code to mask suspicious tethering activity. Rooted phones allow hackers to access the fundamental permissions of the phone, and using them is similar to the programming Windows administrators use to configure their systems. Rooted phones enable users to run apps requiring access to specific system settings that enhance the mobile phone experience.
The issue with tethering data
Unauthorized tethering on a data plan is a violation against carrier contracts and could result in the carrier changing the offending user’s data plan to cover their usage or canceling the offending user’s account. Legere plans to warn violating customers and possibly remove their access to data plans if they don’t stop cheating the system.
Only about 3,000 of T-Mobile’s 59 million customers reportedly stole data through unauthorized tethering. Legere said he isn’t sure why the small group of customers stole data, nor does he care about their reasons. He added that they are not naive amateurs; they know exactly what they are doing. Legere said that he isn’t interested in playing data cop, but he will not allow a few thieves to ruin a good thing for everyone else.