Profits before users

Recently in Australia our second largest telco, Optus, was subject to a major hack in which the data of over 10 million of its customers was stolen by hackers and ransom demanded to prevent its sale on the dark web. It has been reported the company has several years ago complained that the cost of cyber security was too high, words that may now potentially come back to bite with class action lawsuits likely.

Since the hack Optus has not given its users much information about what has occurred, and when it did, it was initially in newspapers and then confused text messages that bewildered. For some more has been exposed creating a sense of urgency to replace those IDs leaked, and for others, like my mother, luck that only part of the needed ID was contained in the leak, though replacement is still recommended.

What this has highlighted for us in Australia is inadequacy of our cyber security law to deal with companies subject of a breach, and further how these companies store or identifying data. The call has gone out to now investigate at least matching Europe’s GDPR privacy rules that sent shudders throughout the world years ago for their stringent requirements when dealing with European citizens data. We need to insist equivalent be instituted or better, where data isn’t stored permanently and is only stored for as long as it is actually required it minimises what hackers like these can ultimately obtain where complied with.

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