What we know about the Optus hack so far – and what customers should do

What has happened?

Optus detected a cyberattack on its systems on Wednesday. Hackers accessed the data of up to 9 million people, including names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for many along with driver’s license numbers and passport numbers for a smaller group. The hack was disclosed on Thursday afternoon. The hackers’ access has been removed but just how much data was stolen and why is not yet known.

It will provide more details at 10.15am on Friday in a press conference.

What is Optus doing about it?

Its chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has apologised to customers and said she was “devastated” by the attack. It has shut down the hackers access and called in the Australian Cyber Security Centre, a government agency that works with the nation’s top online spies, to help assess the hack and trace its source. The federal police, privacy regulators and banks have also been notified. SIM card swaps, replacements and ownership changes have been paused online for Optus customers and can only be done in store at present as a precaution against fraud.

Should Optus customers change their passwords or credit card details?

So far, there is no indication from Optus that password or financial data was compromised. Instead, users should be vigilant about requests that they don’t recognise to change those details because it could be an indication someone is impersonating them with data that was stolen.

What should customers do?

Be wary. Keep an eye out for offers, customer support calls or even scam warnings that ask for approvals or passwords. Even if these use your real name or phone number and appear to come from a company that isn’t Optus, they could be exploiting data from the hack. Verify any communications by independently contacting the company that appears to have sent them. Never click on suspicious links. Do not give out passwords.

Optus has advised it will not be sending out links in SMS messages.

I haven’t been contacted by Optus, but I am a customer, does that mean I haven’t been affected?

No. Optus has said it is contacting the people who are at “high risk” first and will contact all affected users. It has to work through millions of customer records to determine who has had what information taken.

I’m not an Optus customer now but I was in the past, am I safe?

Unfortunately not. The breach has affected past customers as well as current ones. There is no information yet on how far back the hackers managed to go.

Has the stolen information been published anywhere?

Not that we know of. It is common in situations like this for companies to receive a ransom demand before information is published but again, there is no evidence that has occurred either.

Where is the hacker from?

Early indications from Optus are that the hacker or group are based overseas, but not in China.

I’m with Amaysim, another telco that Optus owns, or use Optus’ enterprise services. Am I at risk?

No. Amaysim data has not been compromised, Optus has said. It has also said that wholesale, satellite and enterprise users that “this cyberattack does not affect the platforms and services supporting them. Optus services remain safe to use and operate as they normally do.”

Are Optus’ broadband and mobile phone networks operating?

Yes, these systems are still online and functioning normally. The company has said they were not compromised and there is no danger in using them.

I want to contact Optus for help or more information.

The company has warned that wait times may be longer than usual because of the attack, but users contact Optus via the My Optus app or call 133 937. Businesses can ring 133 343.

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