Hackers have illegally accessed Bell Canada’s customer information for the second time in eight months, prompting an RCMP investigation into the data breach at Canada’s largest telecommunications company.
BCE Inc. confirmed Tuesday that hackers got hold of up to 100,000 customer names and email addresses, and a limited number of phone numbers, user names and or account numbers. This follows a hack in May 2017 when 1.9 million email addresses and about 1,700 names and phone numbers were stolen from Bell’s database.
“There is no indication that any credit card or other banking information was accessed,” Bell spokesman Marc Choma said in a statement.
“We apologize to our customers and are contacting all those affected.”
Bell said the RCMP is actively investigating the incident. Bell informed government agencies of the hack including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, and said it works closely with police, government and industry partners to combat cyber crime.
In an email sent Tuesday to customers affected by the breach, Bell’s executive vice president of customer experience John Watson said additional security authentication and identification requirements were placed on their account.
He recommended customers change passwords and security questions frequently and regularly review accounts for suspicious activity.
“The protection of customer and corporate information is of primary importance to Bell,” Watson wrote.
But one affected customer had questions about when Bell discovered the breach.
A Montreal subscriber with home phone, internet and mobility services received an email on Dec. 20 with a verification code to help confirm his identity with Bell. He found it unusual, as he hadn’t reached out to Bell. On Tuesday, he received the email stating his data had been illegally accessed.
Bell did not immediately answer questions about when the hack occurred or when it discovered the breach.