Optus – How will you know you’ve been hacked?

Optus – How will you know you’ve been hacked?

Whether it’s an email from Optus or a flurry of spam from fraudsters, anyone caught up in the telcos cyberattack should find out soon enough.

Millions of Australians may have had their personal information stolen and sold by the cybercriminals behind this week’s massive attack against Optus.

People’s names, dates of birth, phone numbers, and email addresses have been exposed, Optus has confirmed.

Some current and former customers have even had their passport or driver’s licence numbers compromised.

The people worst affected are likely to hear from Optus first.

Our priority is going to start with the customers where the most fields may have been exposed.

So over the next few days, all customers will know in what category they fall. And we’re hoping for most of them that this does not put them in harm’s way.

Optus did not specify the number of Optus customers affected by the data breach, but the company believes it’s “considerably less” than the “worst case scenario” of 9.8m customers.

Cyber experts fear some people will be alerted to the data theft by criminals online instead of Optus.

“The first sign would be getting a flurry of phishing emails. There could be calls, emails or text messages.

Typically fraudsters try to use personal data to gain access to people‘s accounts or devices.

Scammers have even been known to use information about people’s home addresses to send them letters in the mail.

Depending on the amount of data leaked about each customer, scammers could have enough information to take over bank accounts, or open new, fraudulent ones in the names of victims.

We recommended that people use two-factor identification for their online accounts, meaning an extra layer of protection on top of the password.

A common way to do that is to require a code to be sent via SMS before an account can be accessed.

Using different passwords for different services is another way to stay safe.

We also recommended never clicking on a link in a suspicious email.

Optus said that if a customer receives an email from Optus and are wondering if it’s legitimate, they should contact the company themselves, rather than clicking on any links in that email.

The federal government‘s Australian Cyber Security Centre recommended customers who worry they’ve been compromised use the web application “Have you been hacked?”

Another good resource is the site HaveIbeenpwned.com which will track whether your personal information has been included in a data dump.

Optus currently has more than 5.8 million active users, but previous customers from as far back as 2017 could see their data stolen in the cyber attack. Close to 10 million people are believed to have been affected.

The telco said it was “currently not aware of customers having suffered any harm”, but reassured customers it was working as hard as possible with relevant authorities to ensure no harm would eventuate.

Ms Bayer-Rosmarin said on Thursday that Optus were engaging with IDcare, a not-for-profit national identity and cyber security support service. However, given the enormous scale of the breach, the service may be unable to provide case-by-case assistance to customers.

In an email to affected customers, the Optus CEO said she was “devastated” that the telco had been “the victim of a cyberattack”. Customers who had their information stolen were urged to be “extra vigilant” and “have heightened awareness across your accounts”.

Investigations into the matter are ongoing and will involve the Australian Federal Police, according to Optus.