The Federal Government cracked the whip on Optus to provide its agencies with the information they need about the massive data breach, as it discussed strengthening Australia’s cyber security legislation.
Cybersecurity Minister Clare O’Neil and Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said on Sunday, that Services Australia wrote to Optus on September 27 demanding access to the victim’s data so it could take greater action to protect the Centrelink and Medicare details of those impacted.
However, according to the Federal Government the telco giant has not responded to the request.
“What’s really important here is that we row in the same direction and do everything we can to stop financial crime against Australians,” Ms O’Neil said in a statement on Sunday.
“We urge Optus to do everything it can to provide our agencies with the information they need to help us do that.”
Former prime minister Bill Shorten has blasted Optus saying it has been “too slow to identify victims.”
He said Services Australia is ready and eager to help protect victims but it can’t without Optus’ help.
“This shouldn’t be a game of whack-a-mole where we work out what the problem is and then we go to the corporation and say help us stop the problem,” he said.
“The drawbridge needs to come down.”
In response to the breach which the government said was the equivalent of leaving a window open for a hacker to crawl through, the Home Affairs Minister is looking at strengthening Australia’s cyber security legislation.
The changes may include possible fines for companies failing to protect data and compelling businesses to report data breaches when they occur.
Shadow Cyber Minister James Paterson told Englishheadline Australia’s Sunday Agenda he’s definitely open to the idea of a national cyber security overhaul.
“If the government believes that new evidence has come forward during the Optus attack and that changes to either of those acts is necessary to make them even stronger, the opposition will be constructive and bipartisan about that, of course we will support any sensible changes that the government brings forward,” Mr Paterson said.
Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones =attempted to avoid weighing in on speculation around the Optus cyber attack but said the sum of money demanded sounded more like a “kid in a garage” rather than a foreign country.
The breach last week may have affected up to 9.8 million Australians with Optus not yet certain on the specific number of people caught up in the “significant” attack.
Mr Jones said he did not want to “add to the speculation” but the sums of money requested by the alleged hacker indicated it was not a sophisticated state-based actor.