Amid a standoff between hackers and an insurance company, data of around 10 million customers, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, has been compromised in Australia.
Medibank Private Limited, also known simply as Medibank, has admitted “data of 9.7 million past and former customers was breached when hackers gained access to a database,” ABC News reported.
“This is really tough for people. I am a Medibank Private customer as well and it will be of concern that some of this information has been put out there,” Albanese told a news conference.
The company is one of the largest Australian private health insurance providers, covering around 3.7 million people.
Medibank refused to accept ransom demands of the hackers and warned it expected further data leaks, available on darkweb, from the cybercriminals.
“It appears the cybercriminals have published what they have termed ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ lists of prominent people amongst the leaked data,” the report said.
Australian police have said it stepped up "Operation Guardian" to "try and protect customer data."
“The naughty list includes around a hundred individuals, many with well-known surnames, who have undergone treatment for drug or alcohol use, or for mental health issues such as eating disorders,” it added.
Sam Biondo, the chief executive of the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association, said: “The release of such private information could cause a lot of harm for the people affected.”
“This was extremely concerning given the stigma that's associated with individuals who have alcohol or drug issues,” he said.
Albanese said Medibank has “followed the guidelines effectively.”
“The advice is to not engage in a ransom payment. If you go down this road, then you end up with more difficulties potentially across a wider range.
“But we will, through (Home Affairs Minister) Clare O’Neil, be responding extensively about this. We are concerned and we will continue to monitor what is occurring,” the prime minister said.