MELBOURNE – On Sunday, the Australian government issued its toughest criticism yet against Optus, the second-largest telecommunications company. A cybersecurity breach that affected 40% of the country’s population.
Government blames Singtel-owned Optus for breach affecting 10 million accounts, speeds up notification to 10,200 customers whose personal information was exposed in one of the country’s largest cybersecurity breaches requested the company to do so.
“We shouldn’t be where we are, but Optus put us here,” Home Secretary Claire O’Neill said at a televised press conference from Melbourne. It is very important that Australians take as many precautions as possible to protect themselves from financial crime.”
Optus said on Sunday that it is working closely with federal and state agencies to determine which customers need to take action, but is seeking further advice on the situation of customers whose details have expired. ing.
“We continue to work constructively with the government and its various authorities to mitigate the impact on our customers,” an Optus spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
A spokesperson declined to answer questions about whether Optus had identified how the breach occurred.
The company published a full apology to a major Australian newspaper on Saturday for the “devastating” breach first reported on 22 September. until you receive it.
O’Neill said Australian police operations to find the person behind the breach at Optus were “going well”, adding that the police would provide an update this week.
But she said Optus should step up its efforts to call people whose identity data has been published online to let them know they are in danger, rather than just emailing them.
Mr O’Neill said it was “a time of real alarm for Australians” and urged those who were notified to cancel their passports and other forms of identification and obtain new ones as soon as possible. urged.
Five days after the request, Optus had not turned over information to the government about customers who provided Medicare medical cards or other social services information for Optus account identification purposes, Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said.
“This breach calls on Optus to understand that 10 million Australians have systemic problems with their identity,” he told reporters at a joint press conference.
“We know Optus is trying to do what it can, but that said, it’s not enough,” Shorten said. It’s a problem.”
O’Neill said Australia needs to amend its cybersecurity law to give governments greater powers to respond to cybersecurity emergencies.Reuters