AT&T employees received bribes to install malware: report

AT&T employees received money to unlock the operator's cell phones and that they could be used outside of it

Angela Lang / CNET

AT&T employees received millionaire bribes to install malware on the operator's network and unlock cell phones for free use, according to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ identified Muhammad Fahd, of Pakistani origin and 34 years of age, and Ghulam Jiwani, who is believed to have died, as responsible for offering the bribes. Fahd was arrested in Hong Kong in February and extradited to the United States during the weekend of August 3, according to a report by ZDNet (sister site of CNET).

According to the DOJ investigation, the two defendants paid more than US $ 1 million in bribes to AT&T employees at a customer service center in Bothell, Washington. According to ZDNet, bribes were made between April 2012 and September 2017.

Employees who agreed to receive the bribes had a list of IMEI codes that must be unlocked so that the defendants could sell the phones and be used outside the AT&T network. The bribe was received in bank accounts, often created just to receive that money, says the report.

The defendants first asked for the cooperation of the employees for unlocking, the report says, but then, thanks to the malware installed, the unlocking process was done automatically. An employee who participated in the bribes and pleaded guilty said he had received US $ 428,500 in bribes for five years. ZDNet says that AT&T lost $ 5 million a year from malware.

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