Cyberattack Affects 13,000 Govt. Employees on South Australia’s Payroll Firm

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According to SA State Treasurer Stephen Mullighan, a cyber-attack that was first reported late last year has affected over 13,000 more public servants in South Australia.

Mullighan said in Parliament that a cyberattack on the state government’s payroll provider, Frontier Software, resulted in the personal data of 13,088 more current and former public employees being stolen.

According to ABC, this brings the total number of former and current SA employees affected to more than 90,000, up from 80,000 last year.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) discovered the additional 13,000 when conducting a forensic review.

Which South Australians are affected?

According to the report, those affected include government executives and board members, as well as current and former employees of the SA Police, Metropolitan Fire Service, and Department for Infrastructure and Transport.

Employees’ tax file numbers and bank account numbers were leaked on the dark web. According to the treasurer, they are now being informed by the government as of this week.

The attack details:

  • The attack on Frontier Software was carried out by “an overseas criminal organisation,” according to Mullighan, who then posted the accessed data on the dark web and deployed ransomware.
  • Mr Mullighan stated that because of the hack, some people were unable to access services. such as the ATO or their superannuation record systems.
  • According to the treasurer, the data was available on the dark web for approximately 24 hours.
  • According to ABC News, “there is no information regarding any ransom that may have been paid or how Frontier managed engagement with the overseas cybercriminals in relation to this attack.”

Security safeguards introduced:

Following the incident, the treasurer stated that Frontier Software has added extra security controls to its systems, while the government filed a formal breach notification to the payroll provider for “failing to appropriately protect the information it holds for South Australian government employees.”

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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