Fri, Nov 03, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Australian data lapse leaves 50,000 people exposed


Australia is investigating an online security lapse after personal records of almost 50,000 workers at several government agencies and companies were left unsecured by a third-party contractor in one of the country’s worst data breaches, according to a report by iTnews yesterday.

Backup databases of employee records, including names, passwords, salaries and some credit card numbers were accessible after the misconfiguration of an Inc cloud storage product, it said.

“Companies should assume they will be breached and take steps to limit the impact of these incidents,” said Bryce Boland, chief technology officer for the Asia-Pacific region at FireEye Inc.

“The reality is many firms are unknowingly compromised,” Roland said.

As the scale and frequency of major hacking attacks increases, companies and governments have come under intense pressure to shore up their cybersecurity.

Only about 2 percent of corporate data is encrypted today, International Business Machines Corp said in July.

North Korean hackers are particularly active amid rising tensions over the country’s nuclear ambitions. They have been linked to last year’s heist from Bangladesh Bank, the country’s central bank, as well as cryptocurrency exchange attacks and the WannaCry ransomware that infected about 300,000 computers in 150 countries.

Australia has experienced several high profile hacks or data breaches in the past few years.

The Australian government said it was aware of the breach involving a third-party contractor and that the exposed data was historical and partially anonymized.

“The Australian Cyber Security Centre was alerted to the breach in the first week of October and immediately contacted the external contractor to secure the information and remove the vulnerability,” the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is investigating the theft of mobile-phone records for 46.2 million customers, as the government is working with carriers and police to identify possible sources of the leak, state news agency Bernama reported on Wednesday, citing Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia Salleh Said Keruak.

The largest mobile phone companies in Malaysia include Maxis Bhd, Celcom Axiata Bhd and Bhd.

The companies, as well as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, did not immediately reply to requests for comments or could not immediately be reached by Bloomberg News.

Maxis, Celcom and Digi told the Star newspaper that they are supporting the investigation.

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