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2022 breaches that forever changed Australia’s cyber landscape

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2022 was a turbulent year for Australia’s cyber security environment. These major data breaches in 2022 will likely have a significant impact on Australia’s cyber security strategy in 2023.

Optus

Date of breach: 22/9/2022
The data of up to 10 million Australian users including names, home addresses, phone numbers were accessed by an anonymous hacker. Although the breach occurred last year, Optus CEO Kelly Bayer has stated that profiles dated as far back as 2017 were vulnerable. The breacher uploaded 10,000 data records and threatened to leak 10,000 users every day for 4 days unless Optus paid them in cryptocurrency valued at $1m. This hacker’s access to the user’s information has been removed however the true amount of data stolen is unclear.  

Medibank

Date of breach: 12/10/2022
Up to 10 million Australian patient’s sensitive information including private health records, home addresses, phone numbers and credit card details were released by an anonymous hacker. The following weekend after the breach, Medibank had shut down all IT systems and services for the duration of the weekend. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) stated “If the (Medibank) investigation finds serious and/or repeated interferences with privacy in contravention of Australian privacy law, then the Commissioner has the power to seek civil penalties through the Federal Court of up to $2.2 million for each contravention”

LastPass

Date of breach: 25/8/2022
LastPass, one of the world’s biggest password managers with over 25 million users experienced a severe network breach. Users of LastPass were predictably concerned that the hacker could have access to all their passwords however LastPass stated “LastPass can never know or gain access to our customers’ master password,” reassuring users that their data is safe. Although we can take solace in the fact that no customer data was compromised during this incident, it is still a fact that LastPass’ source code to their proprietary technical information was accessed.

Other notable data breaches of 2022

Twitter

Date of breach: 15/7/2022
Over 5 million user records containing private information such as emails and phone numbers were accessed using a twitter API vulnerability. The stolen data was then shared on a public hacking forum in the form of a data dump openly available for anyone to download

Uber

Date of breach: 15/9/2022
Uber fell victim to a data breach performed by 18 year old hacker “TeaPot”, stealing financial documents, internal messages and other sensitive data. The hacker posted images of their exploits on Telegram shortly after the breach.

Woolworths MyDeal

Date of breach: 8/7/2022
Woolworth admits that the data of 2.2 million customers of its MyDeal webpage was accessed by an anonymous data breacher. The stolen data includes names, email addresses, phone numbers and even home addresses.

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian Enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.

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