Head Of NBN Bill Morrow Ducks For Cover, After Illegal Access Of Journalists Phone By Vodafone Revealed
In 2011, after a series of stories by Fairfax journalist Natalie O’Brien detailing grave security lapses in Vodafone’s Siebel data system, a Vodafone employee accessed her phone call and text message records in an attempt to uncover company whistle-blowers.
O’Brien – herself a Vodafone customer – reported that Vodafone’s Siebel data system was vulnerable to hacking, and that the data of millions of customers was available online and easily accessible through generic passwords that were being shared around the company and publicly.
Customers’ home addresses, driver’s licences and credit card details were all available online, O’Brien wrote, and criminal groups were paying for customers’ private information.
Vodafone since has admitted it was aware of the hacking in “June 2012”.
As of this mooring Morrow was ducking for cover the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull has also failed to comment.
It is unclear whether Mr Morrow was aware of the hacking, however he was running Vodafone at the time.
Vodafone claims the hacking was not ordered by Vodafone ?executives.
The January 2011 hacking of O’Brien’s phone by Vodafone – to discover her sources after a story she broke exposing major ?security and privacy concerns at the telco – was revealed by The Weekend Australian on Saturday.
The Australian newspaper said that senior executives were aware that hacking was an illegal act under the Telecommunications Act, an email shows. Vodafone said the investigating firm – understood to have been KPMG – failed to find evidence that the hack had been ordered by executives.
As previously reported, the June 2012 email between Vodafone’s fraud representatives contained allegations the hacking of O’Brien’s phone had been ordered by Vodafone executives.
Despite being aware of the hack since at least June 2012, the company failed to report it to authorities. O’Brien was never told her phone had been hacked.
An NBN spokesman said Mr Morrow had been appointed ?Vodafone chief “to put in place a strategy that would reverse the company’s declining performance”. “This involved a complete review of the business and the ?execution of a successful turnaround,” he said.
Mr Morrow declined to comment when asked if he had been aware of the hacking. He would not comment when asked why it was not reported to authorities and why O’Brien was not told.
“Allegations of unlawful conduct were taken very seriously during Bill’s tenure and acted upon appropriately,” the NBN spokesman said.
“Any further inquiries should be directed to VHA (Vodafone).”