Singtel's Optus in Australia hit by cyber attack, customer data leaked

Optus said it is working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to mitigate any risks to customers. PHOTO: OPTUS

SINGAPORE - Singtel’s Australian subsidiary Optus said on Thursday it is investigating the possible unauthorised access of both current and former customers’ information following a cyber attack, which was shut down “immediately” upon its discovery.

In a statement on Thursday, Optus said it is working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to mitigate any risks to customers.

It has also notified the Australian Federal Police and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, as well as key regulators.

Australian media outlets reported that millions of customers were affected by the cyber attack.

The information that may have been exposed during the cyber attack includes customers' names, dates of birth, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. For a subset of customers, addresses and identification document numbers, such as driver's licence or passport numbers, may also have been compromised.

Optus, however, said payment details and account passwords have not been compromised.

The company added that its services, including mobile and home Internet, are not affected - nor were messages and voice calls compromised. It maintains that its services remain "safe to use and operate as per normal".

"While we are not aware of customers having suffered any harm, we encourage customers to have heightened awareness across their accounts, including looking out for unusual or fraudulent activity and any notifications which seem odd or suspicious," said the company.

Optus intends to undertake personal notifications and offer expert third-party monitoring services to customers believed to have heightened risk.

Chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the company is "devastated" to discover it had been subject to "a cyber attack that has resulted in the disclosure of (its) customers' personal information to someone who should not see it".

"As soon as we knew, we took action to block the attack and began an immediate investigation. While not everyone may be affected and our investigation is not yet complete, we want all of our customers to be aware of what has happened as soon as possible so that they can increase their vigilance," said Ms Rosmarin.

"We are very sorry and understand customers will be concerned. Please be assured that we are working hard, and engaging with all the relevant authorities and organisations, to help safeguard our customers as much as possible."

Shares of Singtel were up one cent, or 0.4 per cent, at $2.68 at market close on Thursday, after the news. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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