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Hackers Threaten to Leak Stolen Health Data of 1,000 Australian Celebrities Weeks After Optus Hack




By Agence France-Presse | Updated: 20 October 2022

Hackers have threatened to leak the stolen health data of 1,000 famous Australians in a cybersecurity incident described by the government on Thursday as a “huge wake-up call”.

Medibank, one of Australia’s largest private health insurers, said Thursday that the hackers were claiming to have stolen 200GB of data.

“The criminal has provided a sample of records for 100 policies,” it said in a statement to the Australian stock market.

“This claims data includes the location of where a customer received medical services, and codes relating to their diagnosis and procedures.”

The insurer announced a trading halt as details of the hack emerged on Wednesday morning.

The hackers threatened to leak or sell the data, starting with 1,000 high-profile Australians, unless Medibank paid a ransom.

The personal information of some nine million Australians — almost a third of the population — was exposed last month in a hack targeting telecoms company Optus.

The Optus hack was one of the largest data breaches in Australian history.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said Thursday that cybersecurity could no longer be taken for granted.

“Combined with Optus, this is a huge wake-up call for the country,” she told ABC Radio.

“This is the new world that we live in. We are going to be under relentless cyberattack, essentially from here on in.”

Last week, Reuters reported that two Australian regulators had opened investigations into Optus, the country’s number 2 telecoms provider, after a breach of its systems resulted in the theft of personal data from up to 10 million accounts. The probes only add to headaches for Optus, which disclosed the breach on September 22 and has since come under heavy fire from the government and the public for not preventing the massive cyberattack.