Vodafone investigating threat from hackers behind Samsung breach to leak source code

A sign outside a Vodafone Group Plc mobile phone store in London, U.K., on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Vodafone is investigating claims of a data breach made by hackers who are threatening to leak the telecommunication giant’s source code, the company told CNBC.

On Monday, a group known as Lapsus$ asked their subscribers in a poll on messaging app Telegram: “What should we leak next?” followed by three options.

The first option is around 200 gigabytes worth of Vodafone source code. The poll ends on March 13.

The other two options are the source code and databases of Portuguese media corporation Impresa and the source code for MercadoLibre and MercadoPago, both Argentinian e-commerce companies.

At the time of publication, Vodafone had 56% of the vote.

A Vodafone spokesperson told CNBC the company is aware of the claims being made by Lapsus$.

“We are investigating the claim together with law enforcement, and at this point we cannot comment on the credibility of the claim. However, what we can say is that generally the types of repositories referenced in the claim contain proprietary source code and do not contain customer data,” the spokesperson said.

MercardoLibre and MercadoPago, did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment. Impresa’s websites were down and no contact information was available to reach out to the company.

Lapsus$ last week claimed responsibility for a data breach of South Korean electronics giant Samsung in which the hacking group obtained source codes of Galaxy-branded devices like smartphones. Samsung acknowledged the data breach on Monday. Lapsus$ also claimed responsibility for a data breach of chip giant Nvidia last month.

Vodafone has been a target for hackers. In February, the company’s Portuguese unit was hit with a cyberattack that disrupted its services. Vodafone said at the time that customers’ personal data had not been compromised.

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