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9 million customer data exposed in Optus hack

Optus, an Australian telecoms provider, was hit by a cyberattack, with millions losing passport and driver's license numbers.

Australia's second-largest wireless carrier Optus suffered from a major cyberattack. Threat actors penetrated Optus' network compromising the personal data of up to 9 million customers.

According to Ben Packham, foreign affairs correspondent at The Australian, a third of all affected had their passport details stolen.

"About 2.8 million customers have had all their personal details taken in the cyberattack, including their passport and license numbers, email and home addresses, dates of birth, and telephone numbers," Packham said.

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, the CEO of Optus, admitted that the company suffered a breach and said Optus is working with the authorities to evaluate the risks the hack presents customers with.

"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," Bayer Rosmarin said in a statement.

According to the company, exposed information may have included customers' names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, and, for a subset of customers, addresses, ID document numbers such as driver's licenses or passport numbers.

The only silver lining is that Optus thinks payment details and account passwords have not been compromised. The company's services were not affected, either.

While the company is still investigating the breach, insiders who discussed the matter with Australian media say that threat actors exploited a weakness in Optus' firewall.

"Optus has also notified key financial institutions about this matter. While we are not aware of customers having suffered any harm, we encourage customers to have heightened awareness across their accounts […]," Bayer Rosmarin said.

Optus is a major player in the Australian telecommunications market. If the number of affected clients is confirmed, that would mean Optus lost data of almost all of its customers since the company has around 10 million customers.

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