Dallas – AT&T (NYSE: T) has sent an email apologizing to iPad users whose email addresses were exposed via a security hole on its website, terming the incident as “malicious” and blaming it on “computer hackers,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

This explanation conflicts with the version of events from Goatse Security, the group that uncovered the security hole and provided details to online publisher Gawker Media.

The group maintains that its actions were intended to protect AT&T users, and said it deleted the exposed data it collected after seeing that details of the exploit were published.

“If not for our firm talking about the exploit to third parties who subsequently notified them, they would have never fixed it,” Escher Auernheimer, a member of Goatse Security, told The Journal. “We know what we did was right.”

The FBI last week announced it would investigate the matter

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(DMW previous coverage)