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Optus’ data could be shared with banks to head off fraud risk | #phishing | #scams | #hacking | #aihp


The government is preparing to take action to allow Optus to share data about customers affected by a massive cyberattack with banks, amid warnings the breach could spark an increase in fraud and scams.

With millions of customers potentially exposed to a cyberattack on Optus last week, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil on Saturday signalled the government was working on a policy response to the hack.

Banks are on the lookout for any increase in fraud following the Optus hack.Credit:The Age

It is expected that the first step of this response will be to find a way to enable Optus to share data about the affected customers with banks, so banks can take precautions to guard against potential fraud.

“Australian companies must do all they can to protect their customers’ data. I will have much more to say in coming days about the Optus cyberattack and what steps need to be taken in the future,” O’Neil wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Banking industry sources not authorised to speak publicly said a key risk was that personal data obtained by the Optus hackers could be used to make fraudulent applications to banks, or to scam customers.

They said there had been discussions about how companies hit in a cyberattack – such as Optus in this case – could quickly share a list of affected customers with banks, so the banks could take their own precautions. It is not clear whether the government’s mooted changes will require legislation.

Banks have long been major targets for cyber criminals, and some have stepped up monitoring for suspicious activity following the Optus hack.

Westpac, for example, told customers to be on the alert for an increase in scam and fraud activity following the hack, saying criminals could be “highly opportunistic.” “Our fraud prevention and security teams are tacking action to increase monitoring and where appropriate, apply tighter security,” a message on Westpac’s website said.

A spokesman for the Australian Banking Association said banks were closely monitoring developments, but Optus customers should seek the most up-to-date information from the telco. “Banks remain vigilant to scams and frauds and are closely monitoring systems and processes following the reported cyberattack on Optus which has resulted in disclosure of customer information,” the spokesman said.

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