After disclosing the personal information of almost 10,000 customers, the unidentified hacker who is allegedly responsible for the Optus data breach has abruptly apologized for the cyber-attack.
Optushacker, who claimed to have up to 10 million Australians’ personal information in their possession in a weird statement on Tuesday morning, stated they would not sell or disclose it because there were “too many eyes” on them.
Optushacker apologized profusely to Optus in terrible English. Hope everything goes smoothly from here.
The hacker said that if there had been a means to contact them, they would have informed the telecom of their vulnerability.
If Optus had a way to contact us, we would have disclosed the vulnerability, if you’re reading this.
The message stated, “No security mail, no bug bounties, no way too message.”
We no longer care if the ransom was not paid.
After threatening to reveal 10,000 data every day for the next four days if a $1.5 million ransom is not paid, the cybercriminal pulled an astonishing backflip.
Passport, driver’s license, and Medicare numbers, along with dates of birth and residential addresses, were among the customer details that the hacker has so far made public.
Jeremy Kirk, a journalist specializing in cybersecurity, published information on the ransom letter on Tuesday morning. Kirk claims to have spoken with the hacker.
He claimed on Twitter that the Optus hacker had published 10,000 customer data and threatened to disclose another 10,000 batches daily for the following four days if Optus didn’t comply with the extortion demand.
The hacker has asked that the $1.5 million Australian dollar ransom be paid in the decentralized cryptocurrency Monero.
The hacker’s message said, “We are businesspeople. $1,000,000 USD is a lot of money. We will follow our promise.”
The ransom demand follows a vicious assault on Optus by Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil in parliament, who said it was a “simple” hack.
She blamed the company for the security incident, which affected 9.8 million present and past subscribers.
According to Ms. O’Neil on Monday, “the breach is of a sort that we should not expect to see in a big telecoms company in this nation.”
“We anticipate Optus to continue doing all within their power to help both current and past clients.”
Optus, however, disagrees with Ms. O’Neil’s assertion that the attack was not “advanced.”
CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin of the telecom said that the hack was “not as is being depicted.”
She told the ABC, “Unfortunately I believe our briefing of the Minister was after she (made those assertions).”
“Our data was encrypted, and we had many levels of security,” they said.
As the Australian Federal Police looked into the ransom threat, Ms. Bayer Rosmarin claimed that the business was unable to stop it.
The Australian Federal Police is looking into that post, which we’ve seen exists on the dark web, she added.
On Tuesday morning, Mr. Kirk claimed that nobody knew the hacker’s real name in an interview with the Today Show.
“Finding this individual is the major issue for detectives right now,” he added. “This person is engaging in extortion against an international corporation and is in possession of a significant quantity of personal data.”
There are several methods to remain anonymous online, therefore police and other investigators are now attempting to determine if that individual has made any errors. Anything that may reveal their true identify would be helpful so they could perhaps make an arrest.
Brett Callow, a cybersecurity threat expert, supported Ms. O’Neil’s assertions that the assault was not complex and said that the hacker’s primary goal was money.
He stated, “It would seem like something maybe a highschool student could have pulled off.”
The AFP launched Operation Hurricane on Monday to find those responsible for the hack and stop identity theft.
According to Justine Gough, assistant commissioner of Cyber Command, the inquiry into the cause of the data leak would be difficult.
The AFP is keeping an eye on the dark web using a variety of specialized tools because “we are aware of allegations of stolen data being sold on the dark web.”
“Criminals can’t see us because they employ pseudonyms and anonymizing technologies, but I can assure you that we can see them,” he said.
The task team will collaborate with Optus, the Australian Signals Directorate, and foreign police.
Following the Optus incident, Ms. Gough advised clients to be extra watchful of unauthorized messages, emails, and phone calls.
Since it is ultimately our responsibility to contribute to the protection of Australians and our way of life, she added, “The AFP will work diligently to explain to the community and companies how to tighten their internet security.”
On behalf of previous and present consumers, Slater and Gordon Lawyers is determining whether to file a class action case against Optus.
Ben Zocco, a senior associate in class actions law, said that those at danger, such as survivors of domestic abuse and stalking victims, were at risk because of the material that had leaked.
He said that although the effects would be less severe for some clients, the information might easily result in identity theft.
Ms. O’Neil demanded that the telecom provide previous and current customers whose data was compromised in the hack free credit monitoring.
Optus has declared that it would provide a complimentary 12-month Equifax Protect credit monitoring service to its most impacted current and past clients.
In order to determine what actions may be done to safeguard impacted clients, Ms. O’Neil said the government was trying to collaborate with financial authorities and the banking industry.
One important topic, according to her, is whether the nation’s main telecommunications providers are subject to adequate cyber security standards.
A data breach of this kind would incur sanctions of hundreds of millions of dollars in other countries.
The Optus data leak, according to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, was a “big wake-up call.”
Mr. Albanese said the additional safeguards would ensure banks and other institutions would be notified much quicker when a breach occurred so personal data could not be exploited. The government is getting ready to deploy new cybersecurity measures.
Optus’ statements on the breach:
What led to this?
The target of a cyberattack was Optus. We acted promptly to stop the assault, which was exclusively directed at the data of Optus customers. Messages and phone conversations have not been compromised, and Optus’ infrastructure and services, including mobile and home internet, remain unaffected. Optus services continue to be safe to use and run normally.
Has the assault been halted?
Yes. When Optus realized this, the assault was immediately stopped.
To reduce potential dangers to clients, we are now collaborating with the Australian Cyber Security Centre. Additionally, we have informed the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Information Commissioner, and important regulators.
Why did we approach the media rather than our clients first?
Data security for our clients is of utmost importance to us. We took this action because it was the simplest and most efficient approach to warn as many of our current and previous clients as we could, allowing them to be watchful and keep an eye out for any strange conduct. Contacting clients who have been directly affected is currently being done.
What details about me may have been revealed?
Customers’ names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, and, for a subset of customers, addresses, as well as ID document numbers like those on a driver’s license or passport, may have been exposed. Customers that are impacted will get immediate notification of the particular information stolen.
Mobile and home internet services from Optus are unaffected. Voice calls, text messages, payment information, billing information, and account passwords have not been hacked.
What can I do to safeguard myself if I believe I’ve been a victim of fraud?
Although we are not presently aware of any customers who have been harmed, we urge you to be more vigilant about all of your accounts, particularly:
Monitor all of your internet accounts, including your bank accounts, for any unusual or suspicious behavior. Make careful to notify the relevant provider right once of any fraudulent activity.
Be on the lookout for correspondence from con artists who may obtain your personal information. This might apply to shady social media posts, emails, texts, or phone calls.
Never disclose your passwords or any other personal or financial information, and never click on links that seem dubious.
If I suspect my account has been hijacked, how can I get in touch with Optus?
The safest method to get in touch with Optus is still via the My Optus App, but you may also phone us at 133 937 if you’re a consumer client if you think your account has been hacked. Wait times might be greater than normal as a result of the cyberattack’s effects.
Contact your account manager or us at (133) 343 if you are a business client.
How can I tell if I’ve been affected?
Contacting clients who have been directly affected is currently being done.