Telstra Corp Ltd, Australia''s largest telecoms business, said on Tuesday that it had suffered a small data breach, a disclosure that comes two weeks after Optus'' main competitor was left reeling by a massive cyberattack.
Telstra, which has 18.8 million customer accounts, accounting for three-quarters of Australia''s population, claims an intrusion of a third-party organization exposed some employee data dating back to 2017.
According to local media, a Telstra internal employee email has estimated the number of current and former employees affected at 30,000.
According to a company spokesperson, the collected information was "very basic in nature" and limited to names and email addresses.
"We believe it''s been made available now in an attempt to profit from the Optus breach," the spokesperson said without equiting.
Telstra did not say how many people were affected or when the breach occurred, but said it only affected current and former employees.
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The telecoms, financial, and government sectors in Australia have been on high alert since Optus reported on September 22 that a breach of its systems that may have harmed up to 10 million people''s accounts. The figures included home addresses, drivers'' licenses, and passport numbers.
Singapore Telecommunications, the owner of Optus, has stated that it is considering the potential costs of the attack, while law firms are considering class action lawsuits.
The Australian government, which believes the breach was caused by a societal bias, has continued to slam Optus for describing the attack as more sophisticated and for delays in updating affected customers.
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"Optus senior managers are misgiving themselves if they want a medal for the way they''ve been communicating," Minister Bill Shorten told reporters on Tuesday.
"Not even a crocodile will swallow that."
Shorten''s remarks were denied by an Optus spokesperson, but said the company was able to promptly provide accurate updates to affected customers.
2022 Thomson Reuters