Optus warns that Australian customer data could have been exposed as a result of a cyberattack

Optus warns that Australian customer data could have been exposed as a result of a cyberattack

A woman talks on her cell phone as she walks past an Optus store in Sydney, Australia February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File Photo

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SYDNEY, Sept. 22 (Reuters) – Optus, the Australian arm of telecommunications company Singapore Telecommunications (STEL.SI), said it was investigating unauthorized access to customer data, including home addresses, driver’s license and passport numbers, following a cyberattack.

Wireless carrier Optus said in a statement Thursday that it stopped the attack immediately after it was discovered, and that payment details and account passwords were not compromised.

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosemary said the company notified the Australian Federal Police after noticing “unusual activity”.

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Bayer Rosmarin told ABC that the company would be contacting high-risk customers “pretty soon” and apologized for the incident.

She said that names, dates of birth and contact details were obtained, “in some cases” a driver’s license number was disclosed, and in “rare cases, a passport and postal address.”

According to her, investigators are trying to “understand who accessed the data and for what purpose.”

“Optus is working with the Australian Cyber ​​Security Center to mitigate any risks to customers,” Optus said in a statement on its website.

Bayer Rosmarin said Optus has put all customers on high alert as a precaution.

An Australian newspaper reported that up to 9 million customers were affected. Optus told Reuters it could not confirm the number of affected customers and is continuing to investigate.

“Optus has also notified key financial institutions of this. While we are not aware that customers have been affected, we encourage customers to exercise increased account awareness, including keeping an eye out for unusual or fraudulent activity and any notifications that appear strange or suspicious,” Optus said in a statement.

“This is a serious breach by Australian standards,” former national cybersecurity adviser Alistair McGibbon told ABC.

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Reporting by Kirsty Needham, Tejaswi Marty and Harish Sridharan in Bangalore; Edited by Devika Shyamnath and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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