Australian police seek to protect customers after Optus hack

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Officials say the perpetrators of one of the country’s biggest cyber attacks used “objection techniques” to hide their identities.

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Australian police have announced a campaign to protect the personal information of thousands of telecom customers following one of the largest cyberattacks and data breaches in the country’s history.


Australian Federal Police (AFP) Assistant Commissioner for Cyber ​​Command Justin Gough said authorities are working to identify and protect affected customers after an unidentified individual claimed to have released personal data belonging to 10,000 Optus users. Were were

Australia’s second-largest telecommunications Optus announced last week that the personal data of 9.8 million Australians had been compromised in a massive cyberattack, but officials are particularly concerned about the 10,000 customers whose details are sold on the dark web. have been offered for. ,

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Earlier this week a self-identified hacker withdrew a $1m ransom demand, apologizing for the crime and claiming that the stolen data had been destroyed.

“You can be assured that our very smart and dedicated cyber investigators are focused on bringing justice to those whose personal information has been compromised,” Gough said Friday.

Gough said police were concerned that fraudsters may be using customers’ leaked details to conduct sensitive transactions, including passport and driving license information.

“Clients affected by the breach will receive multi-judicial and multi-layered protection from identity crime and financial fraud,” she said.

Although Gough did not comment on the ransom post, he said that officials around the world, including United States law enforcement, were pursuing multiple leads.

“Whoever is behind this attack has used manipulative techniques,” he said.

Troy Hunt, a cybersecurity expert and Microsoft’s regional director in Australia, said that despite the best efforts of authorities, their ability to protect affected customers would be limited.

“They’re so limited to rolling out identity numbers and supporting identity theft services, there really isn’t much they can do on a per-capita basis,” Hunt told Al Jazeera.

“These actions provide some protection, but to a limited extent. It is not through a lack of effort on the part of AFP, but a reflection that it is very difficult to protect people in any absolute sense. Identification numbers Even after being routed, victims would still be subject to phishing attacks on email and SMS, for example.

Australia’s government has accused Optus of lax security, with the country’s cyber security ministry saying the telecommunications had “effectively left the window open for data of this nature to be stolen”.

Optus, which is owned by Singapore Telecom, has insisted it was targeted in a sophisticated hacking that found multiple security protocols.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Friday that Optus had agreed to pay to replace the passports of affected customers after he and several members of his government called on the company to cover the cost.

“I think it’s completely justified,” Albanese told reporters.

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