Hackers compromised the IT system of Fire Rescue Victoria, potentially releasing sensitive personal information of firefighters and other personnel onto the dark web.
The cybercriminals, who attacked the emergency rescue agency late last year, accessed personal details of employees, contractors, emergency service workers from affiliated agencies, and job applicants.
Fire Rescue Victoria reassured its staff that their data had not been posted online, but on Wednesday, confirmed that the information had been shared on the dark web. The agency has cyber security specialists working to analyse the data and will provide further information as they identify what was released.
Advice for affected individuals:
Fire Rescue Victoria is urging affected individuals to take steps to protect their information and is offering identity-monitoring support through IDCARE and credit-monitoring support through Equifax. The agency is also trying to directly contact those impacted by the breach.
They also urged the media and others not to download sensitive or personal data from the dark web, and not to contact employees directly. They emphasised that this incident has not compromised community safety and emergency services continue to be fully operational and accessible through mobile phones, pagers, and radios. The community is advised to call Triple Zero (000) in case of emergency.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been notified about the data breach.
Hackers’ paradise: Why government institutions are the perfect target
- Government agencies and institutions house a wealth of sensitive information, making them a prime target for hackers.
- The government is at the centre of multiple industries, leaving it open to attack from various directions.
- Government IT and security teams often have limited resources and small budgets, making it difficult for them to keep up with and address all potential threats.
- State and local governments often have fewer resources than federal government institutions, making them easy targets for large-scale attacks.
- The government’s heavy reliance on third parties and contractors can also leave it vulnerable to cyber-attacks.