Optus, Australia's second-largest telco, says customer data exposed in data breach

Australian telecommunications giant Optus said current and previous customer data was accessed after a cyber attack on its systems.

Optus said in a press release on Thursday that an unspecified number of customer names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, and addresses and ID numbers, such as driver’s license or passport numbers, were taken in the breach.

The telecom did not say when the breach occurred, but it believes the incident is over.

Optus is a subsidiary of Singapore-owned Singtel and is the second largest telecommunications company in Australia with around 10 million customers.

Australia’s Directorate of Signals, the equivalent of the US National Security Agency, has been notified of the incident.

Telecom, telephone and cellular giants are often targeted for their role in any country’s critical infrastructure. Hackers supported by the nation-state are known break into telecoms looking for phone records to spy on critics and carry out espionage, while criminal hackers, such as SIM-swappersoften rely on breached data and insider access to carry out social engineering attacks that convince customer support or employees to hand over access to their systems.

Optus is the latest major telco to be hit by hackers in recent years. In 2015, Australian telecom Telstra said that its undersea cable company Pacnet’s internal network has been compromised for weekswith hackers accessing his email and other internal business systems.

In the United States, T-Mobile unveiled its seventh network breach earlier this year after hackers from cybercrime group Lapsus$ stole the telco’s source code. Last year, the second-largest U.S. cellular carrier said at least 47 million customers had personal information stolen by hackers.

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