Australia’s Telstra was the victim of a data leak two weeks after the Optus incident
Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra Corp Ltd, said on Tuesday it had suffered from what it described as a minor data breach.
Sydney: Telstra Corp, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, said on Tuesday it had suffered what it described as a small data breach, a revelation that comes two weeks after its main rival Optus suffered a massive cyber attack.
Telstra, which has 18.8 million customer accounts equivalent to three-quarters of Australia’s population, said a hack by an outside organization exposed some employee data dating back to 2017.
According to local media, an internal email from Telstra employees put the number of currents and former employees affected at 30,000.
A company spokesperson said in a statement that the data obtained was “extremely basic in nature” and limited to names and email addresses.
“We believe it has now been made available in an effort to take advantage of the Optus breach,” the spokesperson said, without elaborating.
Telstra did not comment on the number of people affected or when the breach occurred but said it only affected current and former employees.
Australia’s telecommunications, financial, and government sectors have been on high alert since Optus revealed on September 22 a breach in its systems that could have affected the accounts of up to 10 million people. The exposed data included home addresses, driver’s licenses, and passport numbers.
Optus owner Singapore Telecom Limited said it was assessing the potential cost of the attack, while law firms were considering class-action lawsuits.
The Australian government, which believes the breach was due to a fundamental security breach, has continued to criticize Optus for describing the attack as complex and for delays in updating information for affected customers.
“Senior management at Optus is kidding if they want a medal about the way they communicate,” Government Services Minister Bill Shorten told reporters on Tuesday.
“Even the crocodile wouldn’t swallow it.”
An Optus spokesperson declined to comment on Shorten’s comments but said the company is working as quickly as possible to provide accurate updates to affected customers.
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