Hacker holds Australian health insurer’s data for ransom

CANBERRA, Australia — A cybercriminal was holding for ransom an Australian health insurer’s buyer data together with diagnoses and coverings, within the nation’s second main privateness breach in a month, officers stated on Thursday.

Trade in Medibank shares has been halted on the Australian Securities Exchange since Wednesday when police had been alerted that the company had been contacted by what it described as a “criminal” who needed to barter over the stolen personal data of shoppers.

Medibank, which has 3.7 million prospects, stated on Thursday the prison had offered a pattern of 100 buyer insurance policies from a purported haul of 200 gigabytes of stolen data.

Details included buyer names, addresses, start dates, nationwide health care identification numbers and cellphone numbers.

Cybersecurity Minister Clare O’Neil stated most regarding was that data of medical diagnoses and procedures had additionally been stolen.

“Financial crime is a terrible thing. But ultimately, a credit card can be replaced,” O’Neil instructed reporters.

“The threat that is being made here to make the private, personal health information of Australians made available to the public is a dog act,” she added.

The Medibank breach, which O’Neil described as a “ransomware attack,” got here a month after a cyberattack stole from telecommunications company Optus the personal data of 9.8 million prospects.

The Optus breach, which compromised the personal data of greater than one-third of Australia’s inhabitants, prompted the federal government to suggest pressing reforms to privateness legal guidelines that may enhance penalties for firms that fail to guard prospects’ data and restrict the amount of data that may be retained.

O’Neil stated cybercrime was a rising downside around the globe and that Australia wanted to be higher ready.

“We are going to be under relentless cyberattack essentially from here on in, and what it means is that we need to do a lot better as a country to make sure that we are doing everything we can within organizations to protect customer data and also for citizens to be doing everything that they can,” O’Neil instructed Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“Combined with Optus, this is a huge wake-up call for the country and certainly gives the government a really clear mandate to do some things that frankly probably should have been done five years ago, but I think are still very crucially important,” she added, referring to privateness legislation reforms that the federal government hopes to cross by means of Parliament this year.

Medibank chief govt David Koczkar stated his company was working with specialised cybersecurity corporations in addition to police and authorities consultants in response to the breach.

“I unreservedly apologise for this crime which has been perpetrated against our customers, our people and the broader community,” Koczkar stated in an announcement.

“I know that many will be disappointed with Medibank and I acknowledge that disappointment,” he added.

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