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Russian criminals are publishing Australians’ sensitive health records

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Medibank hackers

The group responsible for Australia’s Medibank data hack have been identified

A Russian criminal gang is behind the latest data breach to grip Australian consumers.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has identified REvil, a Russian-based ransomware crime group as the perpetrators behind the hack.

Over 9.7 million customers from Medibank—one of the nation’s largest health insurers—have been embroiled in the leak.

“Let me say this, I am disgusted by the perpetrators of this criminal act,” said the nation’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese.

On Friday, a third wave of health data was published online in relation to people’s mental health, and drug and alcohol use.

Around 240 people were identified in the file, which was titled ‘boozy’.

“We know where they’re coming from, we know who is responsible, and we say that they should be held to account,” Mr Albanese said.

“The fact is that the nation where these attacks are coming from, should also be held accountable for the disgusting attacks, and the release of information including very private and personal information.”

ANTHONY ALBANESE, AUSTRALIA’S PRIME MINISTER

The AFP’s Commissioner, Reece Kershaw said the hacking event constitutes a crime, which could potentially impact millions of Australians.

“This cyber attack is an unacceptable attack on Australia and it deserves a response that matches the malicious and far-reaching consequences that this crime is causing,” he said.

On Thursday, 303 women had their abortion records published on the dark web.

The leaks began after Medibank refused to pay a $10 million ransom, which equates to around $1 per affected customer.

Commissioner Kershaw said there may also be some affiliates operating in other countries.

“I know Australians are angry, distressed and seeking answers about the highly-sensitive and deeply personal information that is being released by criminals who breached Medibank Private’s data base.”

REECE KERSHAW, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE

Russian authorities claimed the group had disbanded earlier this year. However, the group has recently made a resurgence.

David Koczkar is the chief executive at Medibank, who said the hackers are expected to continue releasing the “stolen” data every day.

“The relentless nature of this tactic being used by the criminal is designed to cause distress and harm.”

“These are real people behind this data and the misuse of their data is deplorable and may discourage them from seeking medical care,” Koczkar said.

Medibank is in the process of contacting affected customers.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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TikTok could be banned in the United States

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TikTok in the firing line after Chinese balloon was shot down

 
China has hit back at the U.S. after officials shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

Washington says it was being used to monitor strategic sites.

But Beijing rejects this – claiming the balloon was a civilian airship used to monitor the weather.

The incident is just the latest in a long line of diplomatic disputes between the two countries.

Now, TikTok could be banned in the U.S. in the wake of the incident.

Republicans are now pushing for Washington to distance itself from the Beijing-based app. #trending #featured

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Business

Companies to pay extra for verified Twitter accounts

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Elon Musk has announced that companies and brands will have to pay $1,000 per month – plus an additional $50 per sub-account – to get verified check-marks on Twitter

The new pricing falls under the new Twitter Blue for Business service.

Within the next few months, only paying Twitter customers will have verified status.

Twitter has stacked on $12.5 billion in debt, and this move hopes to increase subscription revenue to meet Musk’s obligations.

Advertisers halted spending on Twitter after the takeover, but Twitter has since announced partnerships with two brand-safety vendors to win back marketers.

Musk also announced that Twitter would start sharing ad revenue with creators for “ads that appear in their reply threads”, but didn’t provide further detail.

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BMW to invest €800 million in Mexico

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BMW is set to invest €800 million in Mexico, to produce its next generation of high-voltage and fully electric batteries

 
The carmaker is looking to convert more than half of its sales into all-electric cars by 2030.

Construction will begin next year with production beginning in 2027.

The announcement follows several other major expansions from the automaker in recent months, including a $1.7 billion investment in the United States.

The move will add around 1,000 new jobs to its Mexico operations.

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