Are You Cyber Safe?

Being in the industry we are in, data security is important.  So many clients have turned to us for some answers and assistance. Whilst we are not your IT nor your cyber security, not only we care for your finances, we care for your sanity and cyber well being.  We felt it important to source some information that you may be able to read to understand and also consider your options going forward.  With that in mind, please see below with some pertinent info.

I should also note that Optus is likely to offer those effected 1 year free Equifax credit monitor service. This costs about $15 per month and whether you are affected or not and want to have a bit more peace of mind (not totally guaranteed ever), then perhaps get in touch with Equifax.  We also declare that we are not directly affiliated with Equifax and do not get any referral fees for mentioning them here.  

However, if you are a business (not retail customers) and want to talk to some great IT people, I do recommend our provider Zeno It.  Give them a call on 1300 559 366 or drop them a note to speak with Gerald or team and tell them Sammy G sent you.

Now for the summary kindly provided by Gerald:

Quick summary

  • Over 11 million current and past customers were affected, stolen information includes: name, address, DOB, e-mail address and telephone contacts.
  • Some accounts (over 3 million) also have their driver license or passport number compromised.
  • To our knowledge, the leaked data does not contain bank account, credit card or actual image of the drivers’ license or passport.

How do I know if I have been compromised?

  • Right now, Optus is busy contacting all compromised accounts – you will find out soon.
  • I have spoken to one Zeno customer who was contacted on the weekend (both e-mail and telephone).

If Optus has contacted me and I am “on the list”, what can I do?

  • Unfortunately, once the information is leaked in the dark web – there’s nothing you can do ☹
  • You will likely receive more phishing e-mail or scam telephone calls, including physical letters.
  • Scammers will impersonate bank or utilities to ‘validate’ and ask for more information.
  • With the driver license, or passport, the information could be used by criminals for impersonation, e.g. organise car rental, hotel rooms or micro loans. That is why the Australian Government is currently reviewing the potential financial ramifications and mitigation strategies.
  • There is no direct financial impact, however as always keep an eye on your bank statement.

No one has called / e-mail me, does it mean I am safe?

  • Maybe! Criminals will take advantage of the situation to impersonate Optus or anyone, e.g. your account has been compromised. Thinking ahead, scammers could also impersonate a law firm to start a lawsuit against Optus.
  • The key is to stay vigilant, sadly “trust no one” is the best approach; give nothing away!
  • If in doubt, hang up, or ask the caller for their name and contact details.

What can I do to protect my business?

  • Avoid re-using the same password! Randomised passwords and save them using a Password Manager (protect by 2FA + idle time out).  
  • Activate multi-factor authentication to protect all your online accounts, especially all your mailbox.
  • Advanced mail-filtering helps detect phishing emails and dodgy embedded links; solutions such as Mail Defender (part of Office 365 Business Premium) or MailGuard.
  • However there’s no protection with SMS and WhatsApp messages; if the source is dubious, don’t click or open anything.
  • Organise cyber security awareness training for staff. Zeno IT now offers an integrated solution with Office 365 as part of their Essential Security subscription. Contact them if you like more information.  1300 559 366

Take away and what it means for Australian businesses

  • Cyber insurance is helpful, but this incident will have a huge impact on Optus – both financially, reputation and trust of their customer.
  • If your business collect any customer data – please find out more about the Data Breach Act and if required develop a Data Breach Response Plan.
  • Similar to GDPR in Europe, the Australian Government will likely introduce new rules and measures on data privacy and collection.

May you be cyber safe 

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