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AT&T employees took bribes to put malware on network

(Image credit: Photo Credit: andriano.cz/Shutterstock)

Recently unsealed court documents have brought to the public's attention a bribery scheme involving several Pakistan cybercriminals, American telco AT&T (opens in new tab) and some of its employees, a couple of millions of dollars, and a potential 20 years of jail time.

The documents describe a bribery scheme in which a 34-year-old Pakistani man named Muhammad Fahd and a partner paid several AT&T employees more than $1 million over five years.

In return, the employees engaged in various illegal activities, including unlocking expensive iPhones (opens in new tab) meant exclusively for AT&T’s network, installing two pieces of malware on AT&T's network at the Bothell call centre, as well as installing rogue wireless access points at the same location.

More than two million devices were allegedly unlocked through the scheme (opens in new tab). Investigators said that one specific employee raked in almost half a million dollars through five years.

The duo ran three companies named Endless Trading FZE, Endless Connections Inc., and iDevelopment.

Fahd was arrested in Hong Kong in February 2018, and extradited to the US earlier this August. If he is convicted, he could be facing up to 20 years in jail.

AT&T believes the scheme had cost the company more than $5 million every year.

"We have been working closely with law enforcement since this scheme was uncovered to bring these criminals to justice and are pleased with these developments," an AT&T spokesperson told ZDNet. The company said this incident did not involve access to customers' personal data.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.