Hackers who seized thousands of Australians’ private data in massive Medibank hack demand FIX – as ministers warn cyber attack ‘significant’
- Australian private health insurer Medibank has fallen victim to a cyber attack
- The company has personal data on more than 3.9 million customers
- CEO David Koczkar said the insurer was trying to understand the scope of the breach
- A group claiming to be behind the attack contacted Medibank on Wednesday
Hackers claiming to be behind a cyber attack on one of Australia’s biggest health insurers, Medibank Private, have threatened to release customers’ personal information.
Medibank said in a statement on Wednesday that a group had contacted them wanting to enter into ransom negotiations for the allegedly stolen data.
“This is a new development and Medibank understands that this news will cause concern for customers and the protection of their data remains our priority,” the company said.
“We are working quickly to establish whether the allegation is true, although based on our ongoing forensic investigation, we are taking the matter seriously.”
Messages in broken English from the hacking group claim 200 gigabytes of sensitive information, including health records, were stolen from Medibank, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The group said as a ‘warning shot’ it would contact the insurer’s 1,000 most prominent customers, including ‘politicians, actors and activists’ using their own personal details.
The private health insurance company Medibank revealed last week that it was the victim of a cyber attack, and now the hacker group has made demands
A statement from Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil’s office on Wednesday evening said the nature of the breach was still being investigated.
‘A significant cyber security incident has occurred at Medibank. The facts are still being established, she said.
Ms O’Neill said she has had discussions with the Medibank CEO, the Australian Signals Directorate and the Federal Police.
Medibank has more than 3.9 million customers.
The new development has meant that shares have been put on a trading halt for the rest of the week.
Medibank revealed last week that it was the victim of a massive cyber attack and shut down some IT systems as it worked to understand the extent of the breach.
In a separate letter to the Australian Stock Exchange last Thursday, Medibank said it detected unusual activity on its network the previous day.
“At this stage, there is no evidence that any sensitive data, including customer data, has been accessed,” the company said at the time.
CEO David Koczkar apologized for the incident and acknowledged that “this news may make people worried”.
It follows the country’s biggest-ever cyber breach, when the personal details of up to 10 million Optus customers were exposed to hackers recently.
Telstra also revealed a data breach this month in which 30,000 current and former employees had their names and emails posted online.
Hackers claiming to be behind theft of 200GB of sensitive customer data from Medibank want to negotiate (stock image)
Medibank said last week that it has taken immediate steps to ‘contain the incident’ and had brought in cyber security experts to work on the breach.
The steps included taking some of its customer-facing computer systems offline
Sir. Koczkar said taking systems offline was to “reduce the likelihood of damage to systems or loss of data,” but that access to healthcare providers and coverage was not affected.
He said the company was still working to understand the exact nature of the breach.
“We recognize the significant responsibility we have to the people who trust us to look after their health and well-being and whose data we hold,” Mr Koczkar said.
“We are working around the clock to understand the full nature of the incident and any further impact this incident may have on our customers, our people and our wider ecosystem.”