SYDNEY:Concern about a rash of high-profile cyberattacks was fueled by the announcement on Thursday by Australia’s largest health insurer that a criminal had apparently stolen customers’ medical information as part of a massive breach of data.

Medibank Private Ltd., which serves one-sixth of Australians, reported that an unidentified individual had shown the company stolen personal information of 100 customers, including medical diagnoses and procedures,as part of a theft of 200 gigabytes of data,that the company had first disclosed a week earlier.

Although it warned that the number of affected customers was likely to rise, the company did not specify how many of its 4 million customers were likely to be affected.Without providing any additional information,The Australian Federal Police said they had opened an investigation into the breach, without commenting further.

The disclosure adds a new layer has been added by the disclosure to a wave of cyberattacks on Australia’s largest businesses since No.2 Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.-owned telecom Optus disclosed a month ago that up to 10 million customers’ personal information may have been stolen.

Until now, the majority of public commentary has focused on the possibility that hackers would gain access to bank accounts by using stolen data.According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a person who claimed to be the Medibank hacker sent a message in which they threatened to publish the medical records of prominent people unless the person were paid.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation was informed by Cybersecurity Minister Clare O’Neill that “what we have here is… healthcare information, and that just by itself can cause immense harm to Australians, which is why we are so engaged with this.”

Big Target

Given the diverse nature of the attacks, cybersecurity experts stated that it was unclear whether the data breach disclosures were related. However, the Optus attack’s publicity may have drawn attention from hacker networks.

According to Jeremy Kirk, executive editor of Information Security Media Group, a publication specializing in cybersecurity, “Hackers take notice of that when you do have a highly visible breach like Optus in Australia out there and go’maybe I’ll have a go down there and see what I can get away with.”

Larger Optus rival Telstra Corp Ltd, has disclosed a minor employee data breach, while No. 1 grocery chain  According to Woolworths Group ., an unidentified individual gained unauthorized access to a bargain website’s customer database, which is used by 2.2 million customers.

According to Sanjay Jha, chief scientist for the University of New South Wales Institute for Cybersecurity, the high-profile data breaches demonstrate the significance of multi-factor authentication, in which a user uses a code that is sent to a separate device to log in, at each level of a company’s network.

Jha told Reuters by phone, “Maybe for end users they have done it, but for internal servers they should have even more stringent control.

He went on to say, “You need continuous authentication so that people don’t log in and leave it forever, or attackers can compromise your system.”

Dan Woods, a former FBI cyberterrorism investigator who is now the head of intelligence at cybersecurity firm F5, stated, “Undoubtedly experienced its worst few weeks from a cybercrime perspective, but on the positive side it’s been a wake-up call the country may have needed.” Make sure to Subscribe to our site for latest blogs like this.


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