Optus warns cyberattack may have exposed Australian client details

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

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Optus, the Australian unit of Singapore Telecom (STEL.SI), said it is investigating unauthorized access to customer details including home addresses, driver’s license and passport numbers, after a cyber attack.

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

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

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Bayer Rosmarine told ABC Television that the company would contact high-risk customers “very soon,” and apologized for the incident.

She said names, dates of birth, contact details, and “in some cases” a driver’s license number were accessed, and in “a rare number of cases the passport and mailing address were revealed.”

She said investigators were trying “to understand who was accessing the data and for what purpose.”

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

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

The Australian newspaper reported that up to 9 million customers have been affected. Optus told Reuters it could not confirm how many customers were affected and that it was continuing to investigate.

“Optus has also notified major financial institutions of this. While we are not aware of any harm to customers, we encourage customers to raise awareness across their accounts, including to look for any unusual or fraudulent activity and any notices that appear strange or suspicious.”

“It’s a huge violation of Australian standards,” Alistair McGibbon, a former national cyber security adviser, told ABC Television.

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Additional reporting by Kirsty Needham, Tejaswi Marthi and Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Siamnath and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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