Australia’s Optus up to 10 million customers affected by cyber attack, Reuters says

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

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s No. 2 telco Optus, owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, said it would contact up to 10 million customers whose personal details were taken in a “sophisticated” hack, but that no corporate customers were affected.

Optus CEO Kelly Baier (OTC:) Rosemary said she was “outraged and disappointed” after an overseas-based entity broke into the company’s customer information database, leaking home addresses, driver’s license and passport numbers in the country’s biggest cyber security breach.

As many as 9.8 million accounts could be compromised, which equates to 40% of Australia’s population, but this is the absolute worst-case scenario (and) we have reason to believe the number is actually lower than that, Bayer Rosmarin said.

Bayer Rosmarin said corporate customers appeared unharmed and there was no indication that the attacker had taken customer bank account details or passwords. Police and cyber security officials are still investigating the attack, Optus told customers on Thursday.

Bayer Rosmarin said in an online media briefing on Friday: “We are proactively reaching out to each customer to identify specifically which customers are (impacted).

“I’m angry that there are people who want to do this to our customers, I’m disappointed that we couldn’t protect him … and I’m very sorry,” she added.

She declined to provide details on how the attacker breached the company’s security, citing an ongoing criminal investigation, but said the attacker’s IP address – a computer’s unique identifier – appeared to move between unknown countries in Europe.

As a major telco, Optus considers itself a target for cyber attackers and regularly repels attempts to breach its systems, but this particular one is unlike anything we’ve seen before, and unfortunately it was successful, he said.

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