Federal Police Launch Special Ops to Protect Victims of Largest Cyber Hack in Australian History
“Operation Guardian” is part of a series of efforts by law enforcement, business entities, and the government to deal with the data breach of telecommunications giant Optus, which affected up to 10 million customers.
The AFP, along with state and territory law enforcement, will focus on protecting 10,000 individuals whose 100 points of identification, including passport numbers, were released online by cyber actors.
The police will monitor online forums, the internet, and the dark web to check if criminal syndicates may try to exploit the data breach.
“Australian law enforcement is aware of current criminal activity attempting to target and exploit impacted Optus customers that have been the subject of this data breach,” said Justine Gough, the assistant commissioner of Cyber Command at the AFP.
“Operation Guardian should send a clear warning to cybercriminals. The AFP, state and territory police plus other agencies through the JPC3 have a laser-like focus, plus a significant number of resources and legislative powers, to identify cybercrime targets.”
Law enforcement has encouraged customers to look out for suspicious and unexpected activity across online accounts and not to click on any emails or SMS claiming to be from Optus.
David Lacey from IDCARE, a not-for-profit charity, said it was important to support victims.
“If you believe you have experienced identity misuse, you can book a time in with an IDCARE Case Manager via their Get Help for Individuals online form at IDCARE.org,’’ Lacey said.
IDCARE says it has received more than 10,000 requests for information from the public.
Meanwhile, Optus will also potentially face a class action filed by law firm Slater and Gordon on behalf of customers affected by the cyber attack.
“This is potentially the most serious privacy breach in Australian history, both in terms of the number of people affected and the nature of the information disclosed,” said class action senior associate Ben Zocco.
“We consider that the consequences could be particularly serious for vulnerable members of society, such as domestic violence survivors, victims of stalking and other threatening behaviour, and people who are seeking or have previously sought asylum in Australia.”