Australia’s largest telecommunications company Optus, revealed last week that personal data from approximately 10 million customers – roughly 40% of the population – was stolen in a cyber-attack.
According to some experts, this is the worst data breach in Australian history.
This week, however, has seen more dramatic and messy developments, including ransom threats, tense public exchanges, and questions about whether this was even a “hack” at all. It has also raised serious concerns about how Australia handles data and privacy. Optus announced the breach about 24 hours after discovering suspicious activity on its network. Names, birthdates, home addresses, phone and email contacts, as well as passport and driving licence numbers, were stolen from customers. It emphasised that payment information and account passwords had not been compromised.