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Cellular-Telephone Operator's database stolen, pirated

The database of cellular-telephone operator MTS, which contains the telephone numbers of more than 5.5 million cell-phone users, is being sold illegally on CD-ROM at Moscow markets, newsru.com and other Russian news agencies reported on 21 January.

The database, which is selling for about $150, contains the names, home addresses, and telephone numbers of all MTS clients. The pirate CD-ROM also contains a search function that links clients to their bank accounts.

An MTS spokesman said that an investigation into the apparent theft is under way, but emphasized that the accounts of MTS clients have not been compromised. Under Russian law, security agencies have access to such databases, leading to speculation that corrupt security agents might be responsible, abnews.ru reported on 23 January.

(RFE/RL 24.i.03)

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