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Major data breach at Optus exposes customer passport numbers

Optus clients have had their private info accessed after the telco fell sufferer to what has been described as one of many largest hacks in Australian historical past.

Names, dates of delivery, cellphone numbers, electronic mail addresses and in some circumstances, postal addresses, and driver’s licence and passport numbers have been compromised. Sources cited by the Sydney Morning Herald (paywall) mentioned that as many as 9 million present and former clients have been affected. In keeping with Optus father or mother Singtel’s most up-to-date financials, Optus had 10.2 million cellular and 1.3 million house broadband clients on the finish of June, so it’s a sizeable hack. has sought affirmation of the precise determine from Optus, and can replace this story if wanted.

“As quickly as we knew, we took motion to dam the assault and started a right away investigation. Whereas not everybody perhaps affected and our investigation isn’t but full, we wish all of our clients to pay attention to what has occurred as quickly as attainable in order that they will enhance their vigilance,” mentioned Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, in a press release on Thursday. “We’re very sorry and perceive clients will likely be involved. Please be assured that we’re working exhausting, and interesting with all of the related authorities and organisations, to assist safeguard our clients as a lot as attainable.”

Optus mentioned fee particulars and account passwords haven’t been accessed. Nonetheless, the treasure trove of data stolen by the hackers will go away affected clients susceptible to a large number of assaults. For example, with sufficient private info at their disposal, a felony might use social engineering strategies to execute a SIM-swap assault, gaining illicit possession of a sufferer’s cell phone quantity. With cellphone numbers incessantly used for two-factor authentication and resetting passwords, it might open the door to the sufferer’s social media, on-line buying and probably even financial institution accounts.

“Optus has additionally notified key monetary establishments about this matter. Whereas we’re not conscious of consumers having suffered any hurt, we encourage clients to have heightened consciousness throughout their accounts, together with looking for uncommon or fraudulent exercise and any notifications which appear odd or suspicious,” Optus mentioned.

Australia’s privateness guidelines require regulated organisations – which incorporates Optus – to inform the Workplace of the Australian Data Commissioner (OAIC) of any knowledge breach that’s more likely to trigger severe hurt. Failure to conform can incur a high quality of as much as A$2.1 million ($1.4 million). In keeping with the OAIC Web site, there have been 464 notifiable knowledge breaches (NBDs) in 2021, up 6 % on the earlier yr. The vast majority of NBDs resulted from malicious or felony exercise, and 71 % of breaches affected 100 individuals or fewer.

Optus mentioned it has notified not solely the OAIC, however the Federal Police, and the Australian Cyber Safety Centre.

By way of the place the Optus hack sits in Australia’s knowledge breach corridor of infamy, it actually seems to be among the many largest. A rating printed by cybersecurity agency UpGuard in August put on-line design instrument maker Canva on the high, with a hack in 2019 that uncovered the main points of a whopping 137 million customers. In second place sits IoT vendor Ubiquiti Networks, which was breached in December 2020, allegedly compromising the main points of as much as 85 million clients. When it printed its rating, UpGuard mentioned the third-largest hack passed off in July 2020 and affected 444,000 customers of instructional examination platform ProctorU.

If the SMH’s sources are on the cash, then the 9 million unlucky victims of the Optus hack would confer upon the telco an unwelcome and doubtful honour.


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