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Australian Regulators Investigate Optus After Cyberattack

If investigators find a breach of Australian privacy law, they can seek civil penalties of up to $1.4 million per contravention

Australia's government called on Optus on Sunday to step up help to victims of the huge cyber breach on its data system.
A woman uses her mobile phone as she walks past in front of an Optus shop in Sydney. The group's latest technical breakdown could prove expensive for the company. File photo: Reuters.


Australian regulators have opened an investigation into telecoms provider Optus after a cyberattack compromised personal data from 10 million customer accounts.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will examine whether Optus has been meeting its data security obligations.

Parent company Singtel is to be put under similar scrutiny by The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), just days after another cyberattack on its Australian-based Dialog unit.

The probes only add to Optus’s problems, which disclosed the breach on September 22 and has since come under heavy fire from the government and the public for not preventing the massive cyberattack.

Cyber Clampdown

Amid the widening fallout, the federal government has flagged it will overhaul data security laws.

This will force firms which have suffered a cyberattack to notify banks about customers who may be compromised. Several law firms are also considering filing class action lawsuits.

The OAIC said in a statement if it finds that “interference with the privacy of one or more individuals has occurred”, it may force Optus to take steps to ensure the breach cannot be repeated.

The agency added that if it finds there was a breach of Australian privacy law, it can seek civil penalties of up to A$2.2 million ($1.4 million) per contravention.

  • Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon


Read more:

Singtel Unit Hit by Cyber Attack Weeks After Optus Breach

Canberra Says Optus Should Pay for New Passports After Hack

Australian Government Blames Phone Giant for Huge Data Hack



Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.


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