Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced that Optus will cover the cost of new passports for all Australians affected by a mass data breach.
Thousands of Australians have scramble to secure new identification documents after more than 10,000 people released their identification documents during the breach.
These leaked records included identity information such as driver’s license, passport and Medicare numbers, as well as contact information for Parliament and the Defense.
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However, Anthony Albanese said Friday Optus would cover the cost of renewing those documents.
“I think it’s totally appropriate,” he said.
“I find it extraordinary that the federal opposition asked the taxpayers to pay up.”
A new police task force has been established to protect customers affected by the Optus data breach from identity theft.
Launched by the Australian Federal Police with state and territorial police forces, Operation Guardian will help affected customers and protect Australians from cybercrime.
The more than 10,000 people whose identification documents are known to have been released during the breach are being prioritized by the task force to ensure they are not victims of financial fraud.
Cyber Command Deputy AFP Commissioner Justine Gough said investigators would do justice to those whose personal information was compromised.
However, she admitted that investigators were still determining exactly how many people were affected.
“Customers affected by the breach will receive multi-jurisdictional and multi-layered protection against identity crime and financial fraud,” she told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
Guardian will focus on monitoring online forums and various dark web sites for criminals attempting to exploit identity information.
“AFP and law enforcement agencies across Australia take this crime very seriously,” Gough said.
“Cybercrime is the break-and-enter of the 21st century and we encourage all Australians to be extra vigilant about their online safety at this time.”
She urged Australians to report suspicious activity involving bank accounts, not click on links in text messages and be wary of calls from people impersonating Optus employees.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Peter Dutton has criticized the government for failing to bring new privacy legislation to Parliament in the wake of the Optus hack.
He said Australians should be “white-hot with anger” after their sensitive information was stolen.
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said earlier this week the government aims to table legislation in the House of Commons by the end of the year.
However, this was criticized by the coalition as being too slow.
“It should have been in Parliament this week, the government was aware of this problem,” he said on Friday.
“I think 10 million Australians should be furious that their information has been compromised and the Home Secretary has been missing for three days.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles called the breach a “wake-up call” for the corporate sector.
– With AAP
https://7news.com.au/politics/optus-to-cover-passport-renewal-costs-amid-data-breach-c-8403367 Optus Data Breach: Optus to cover data breach passport renewal costs