Man sentenced for targeting Optus breach victims

A 20-year-old from Sydney received an 18-month-long sentence for attempting to blackmail victims whose data was stolen in the Optus breach.

Australian authorities sentenced an attacker who tried to extort 92 victims in a text message blackmail scam, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said.

The Sydney resident attempted to use data hackers stole from Australia’s second-largest telecoms provider Optus. The attacker, who was 19 at the time of the arrest, demanded a $2,000 payment and threatened to leak victims’ personal data if they didn’t pay.

The SMS-based scam earned the culprit an 18-month Community Correction Order, 100 hours of community service, and a conviction recorded for attempting to blackmail.

“The criminal use of stolen data is a serious offense and has the potential to cause significant harm to the community,” Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commander Chris Goldsmid said.

Optus hack kickstarted a tsunami of attacks against targets in Australia. Threat actors targeted Australia’s largest health insurer Medibank, the country’s largest telecoms company Telstra, IT services provider Dialog and Woolworths subsidiary in Australia, MyDeal.

The government responded by forming a 100-strong squad for combating cybercriminals.

“What they will do is scour the world, hunt down the criminal syndicates and gangs who are targeting Australia in cyberattacks, and disrupt their efforts,” Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security Clare O’Neil said, announcing the formation of a new unit.

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