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Optus hack – which businesses are at the highest risk of hacks?



A hacker has threatened to release the private information of millions of Optus customers, this includes passports, medicare numbers, drivers licenses and banking information

If you’re one of the millions of Australians affected by the recent Optus data breach, you may be wondering what to do next.

Fortunately, the government has announced that Optus will be footing the bill for anyone who needs to change their driver’s licence number and get a new card.

This process is expected to cost the telco millions of dollars.

In the meantime, if you are concerned about your identity being compromised, experts recommend taking steps to protect yourself such as monitoring your credit report and changing your passwords and identity documents.

Optus has also set up a dedicated hotline for customers who want to know more about the data breach and what it means for them.

The hacker claimed to have accessed Optus customer names, addresses, dates of birth, driver’s licence numbers and credit.

They demanded a $1m ransom in cryptocurrency and threatened to release the data otherwise.

Now, they claim the data has been deleted, but there is no proof of this.

Can the hacker be found?

Susie Jones, Chief Executive at Cynch Security says it can be incredibly difficult to find cybercriminals “which is why it’s such a large market these days unfortunately.”

However, the the actions that they’re taking “certainly does indicate that they’re getting cold feet and certainly becoming a lot more nervous about the attention”.

“So whilst the pessimist cyber CEO hitting me says that they won’t be found. The optimistic Australian certainly hope they will be,” Susie says.

How long do people have to worry about hackers using their stolen ID information?

Good news – It’s not too late.

“The first step that they should be doing is really remaining vigilant and making sure that they’re scrutinising all of their bank accounts, all of their phone records, making sure that they’re really staying on top of what it is that is going on in their accounts and their personal data and personal lives,” Susie says.

“Being very, very careful around scam phone calls and emails. cyber attackers are very good at that now and they will be actively exploiting this opportunity.”

Susie says to make sure that you’re remaining vigilant and stay on top of what the latest scams are, so that you can spot them and delete them straight away.

Optus is in the business of dealing with people’s data and tech as one of Australia’s largest telco’s – what businesses are at the highest risk of ransomeware attacks?

“Businesses of every size, doesn’t matter if you’re a sole trader right up to the likes of Optus, are actively being attacked by cyber criminals every minute of every day.”

“But that’s just a reality. What this does do is raise awareness that personal data that is this is collect, even if it might seem small to yourself, and to the likes of hope this can be incredibly valuable and also from hands can be very, very damaging,” Susie says.

“So for those businesses that are not having to respond directly to this attack, they should be actively reviewing their own processes reviewing what personal information do they collect and store and making sure that they’re keeping it safe.

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“TikTok represents two national risks to Australians”: should you delete the app?



Democracies continue to ban popular video-sharing app TikTok over national security concerns

Australia recently banned TikTok from all federal government owned devices over security concerns.

Canberra is the latest in a string of U.S.-backed allies to take action against the popular video-sharing app.

The ban centres around concerns China could use the app to trace users’ data, and undermine democratic values.

Senator James Paterson is the Australian Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, who said TikTok poses a risk to Australians.

“They can get access to awful amount of information on your phone.

“Because it’s beholden to the Chinese Communist Party, there’s no guarantee it won’t fall into their hands,” he said.

Senator Paterson said there are “six or seven million Australians who use the app.”

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Cyber attacks are on the rise, so what is being done to combat them?



Australia experienced two of its worst cyber attacks on record last year, as the world braces for cyber warfare to rise

Ukraine has suffered a threefold growth in cyber-attacks over the past year.

Viktor Zhora is leading Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection agency, who said cyber attacks are occurring at the same time as missile strikes at the hands of Russia.

Mr Zhora said in some cases, the cyber-attacks are “supportive to kinetic effects”.

On the other side of the planet, Russian hackers were responsible for Australia’s Medibank scandal.

“This is a crime that has the potential to impact on millions of Australians and damage a significant Australian business,” said Reece Kershaw, who is the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.

Australian Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security is James Paterson, who said Australia can learn from cyber warfare in Ukraine.

“Ukraine is a lesson for the world.

“They are fighting a hybrid war, one on the ground and one online. If there is to be future conflict including in our own region, in the Indo-Pacific, it’s highly likely that the first shots in that war will occur cyber domain not in the physical world,” Senator Paterson said.

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Amazon employees walk out to protest office policies



Staff at warehousing giant Amazon have walked off the job to protest the company’s return-to-office program

Over 1,900 Amazon employees pledged to protest globally over proposed changes to the company’s climate policy, layoffs and a return-to-office mandate.

The activist group behind the rally is known as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), who are seeking a greater voice for employees.

“Our goal is to change Amazon’s cost/benefit analysis on making harmful, unilateral decisions that are having an outsized impact on people of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people,” organisers said.

Over 100 people gathered at the heart of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters on Wednesday. The company said it had not witnessed any other demonstrations.

AECJ said the walkout comes after Amazon made moves “in the wrong direction”.

The company recently has recently overturned a desire to make all Amazon shipments net zero for carbon emissions by 2030.

The company maintains a pledge on climate change.

Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser told Reuters the company is pursuing a strategy to cut carbon emissions.

“For companies like ours who consume a lot of power, and have very substantial transportation, packaging, and physical building assets, it’ll take time to accomplish.”

AECJ protesters also sought support for the 27,000 staff, who had lost their jobs in recent months —around 9 per cent of Amazon’s global workforce.

The company has also mandated a return-to-office program.

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