Hackers threaten to release Aussie celebs’ health data

Friday, Oct 21, 2022

SYDNEY: Hackers have threatened to leak the stolen health data of 1,000 famous Australians in a cybersecurity incident described by the government on Thursday as a “huge wake-up call”.

Medibank, one of Australia´s largest private health insurers, said on Thursday that the hackers were claiming to have stolen 200 gigabytes of data. “The criminal has provided a sample of records for 100 policies,” it said in a statement to the Australian stock market.

“This claims data includes the location of where a customer received medical services, and codes relating to their diagnosis and procedures.” The insurer announced a trading halt as details of the hack emerged on Wednesday morning.

The hackers threatened to leak or sell the data, starting with 1,000 high-profile Australians, unless Medibank paid a ransom.

The personal information of some nine million Australians -- almost a third of the population -- was exposed last month in a hack targeting telecoms company Optus. The Optus hack was one of largest data breaches in Australian history. Home Affairs Minister Clare O´Neil said Thursday that cybersecurity could no longer be taken for granted.

“Combined with Optus, this is a huge wake-up call for the country,” she told ABC Radio. “This is the new world that we live in. We are going to be under relentless cyberattack, essentially from here on in.”