Telstra publishes details of 130,000 customers due to ‘internal error’

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Telstra embroiled in massive data breach with up to 130,000 customers impacted as the telco giant explains how the ‘unacceptable’ leak happened

  • Details of thousands of unlisted Telstra customers have been published online 
  • More than 130,000 customers impacted with names and addresses shared
  • Telecommunication giant blamed it on an internal error and issued apology 

The details of more than 130,000 unlisted Telstra customers have been published online as the result of an internal error.

The telecommunications giant is ‘in the process of communicating’ with customers whose details were ‘incorrectly’ made available via Director Assistance or the White Pages.

Names, addresses and phone numbers are among the details that have been published.

Telstra publishes details of 130,000 customers due to ‘internal error’

The details of more than 130,000 unlisted Telstra customers have been published online as the result of an internal error (stock image)

Chief financial officer Michael Ackland said while the company had regulatory obligations to provide those services, there had been a ‘misalignment’ of the databases.

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‘(This) resulted in some customers’ names, numbers and addresses being listed when they should not have been,’ Mr Ackland said.

‘This was a result of a misalignment of databases – no cyber activity was involved.’

Mr Ackland said as soon as the telco had been made aware, the work began to remove the identified impacted customers from the services.

The company is in the process of contacting every affected customer, and will also offer free support through IDCARE.

‘We are conducting an internal investigation to better understand how it happened and to protect against it happening again,’ he said.

The telecommunication giant is 'in the process of communicating' with customers whose details were 'incorrectly' made available via Director Assistance or the White Pages (stock image)

The telecommunication giant is ‘in the process of communicating’ with customers whose details were ‘incorrectly’ made available via Director Assistance or the White Pages (stock image)

‘Protecting our customers’ privacy is absolutely paramount, and for the customers impacted we understand this is an unacceptable breach of your trust.

‘We’re sorry it occurred, and we know we have let you down.’

The incident is the latest in a series of incidents which has seen customer details released after cyber attacks, including of Optus and Medibank.

Russian cyber criminals hacked Medibank’s customer database and stole the health records of almost 10 million current and former customers.

The hackers have since published the entirety of the data on the dark web, including that for procedures and conditions related to abortions and mental health disorders, following Medibank’s refusal to pay a $15 million ransom.

Meanwhile, a new cyber security strategy will be drawn up by global experts in a bid to make Australia the most secure nation in the world, having become ‘unnecessarily vulnerable’.

Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil announced the drafting of the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy at the National Press Club in Canberra on Thursday.

She also unveiled the expert advisory board that will develop the new strategy.

It will be chaired by former Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn and also be led by former air force chief Mel Hupfeld and Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre chief executive Rachael Falk.

‘The cyber security strategy will help Australia bring the whole nation into the fight to protect our citizens and to protect our economy,’ Ms O’Neil said.

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