Optus falls victim to cyberattack exposing sensitive customer information
Australian telecoms company Optus has fallen victim to a cyber attack, potentially exposing sensitive customer information.
The telco – owned by Singapore Telecommunications Limited – says its own services, including mobile and broadband, were not compromised in the attack, but some customer data has been exposed.
Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said that the telco took action to block the attack and begin immediate investigation as soon as it became aware of the breach. It is now working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to protect its customers. The Australian Federal Police, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and “key” regulators have also been notified of the breach.
“While not everyone maybe 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,” warned Bayer Rosmarin.
What customer information was retrieved is less clear. The telco only stated that customer data “may” have been exposed. This can comprise of customer names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, and, in a handful of cases, addresses and ID documentation.
In regards to what led to the breach, outside source Hugh Raynor, senior cyber security consultant at SureCloud said it appears to be via a vulnerability or misconfiguration in its perimeter infrastructure, specifically one of its firewalls.
“We don’t know much more than that at the moment, but it does appear to be a slightly different attack vector to a lot of attacks these days that focus on social engineering, such as the recent events with Uber and Revolut.”
“These attacks appear to be data gathering exercises,” adds Raynor. “It’s very difficult for a cybercriminal to get into an organisation and steal funds or payment data. It’s much easier to get in and steal user data instead.
The attraction to stealing user data, according to Raynor, is that attackers can either levy it or use it to launch further cyberattacks on the individuals via phishing or malware laden emails, or even commit identity fraud.
Optus has assured customers it is “working hard, and engaging with all the relevant authorities and organisations, to help safeguard” them as much as possible.
TechInformed tackled cyber security recently as part of a four-part special report all about attackers and what businesses can do to help keep them at bay.
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