US telecommunications giant AT&T reported that hackers broke into its computer system and stole the personal data of thousands of people who had shopped at its online store, an AFP report said.
The AFP report said the security breach took place over the weekend and was discovered 'within hours,' according to an AT&T statement.
AT&T shut down the online store after discovering it had been hacked by thieves that took credit card numbers and other personal information of people who bought DSL equipment at the Web site, the AFP report said.
AT&T said it sent notices to the nearly 19,000 customers whose data was stolen and offered to pay for them to have credit monitoring services.
'We recognize that there is an active market for illegally obtained personal information,' AT&T chief privacy officer Priscilla Hill-Ardoin was quoted as saying.
'We deeply regret this incident and we intend to pay for credit monitoring services for customers whose accounts have been impacted. We will work closely with law enforcement to bring these data thieves to account.'