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Slater And Gordon Prepare Optus Class Action

Optus is facing a class action lawsuit after last week’s mass data breach that resulted in an estimated 9.6 million Australians having personal information compromised.

Law firm Slater and Gordon are currently calling for any Optus customers concerned about the privacy breach to register their interest in the class action on its website

“This is potentially the most serious privacy breach in Australian history, both in terms of the number of affected people and the nature of the information disclosed,” Slater and Gordon senior associate Ben Zocco said.

“We consider that the consequences could be particularly serious for vulnerable members of society, such as domestic violence survivors, victims of stalking and other threatening behaviour, and people who are seeking or have previously sought asylum in Australia.

“Given the type of information that has been reportedly disclosed, these people can’t simply heed Optus’ advice to be on the lookout for scam emails and text messages.

“Very real risks are created by the disclosure of their personally identifiable information, such as addresses and phone numbers.”

Zocco said that drivers’ licence and passport numbers were among the breach is troubling.

“This information alone would go a long way in allowing a criminal to steal an affected customer’s identity,” he said.

“We are continuing to explore potential legal avenues for affected customers. In the meantime, we encourage anybody who may have been affected by the data breach to register their interest in Slater and Gordon’s investigation on our website, and to otherwise remain vigilant and look out for suspicious account activity or contact by email, SMS and phone.”

As part of its public mea culpa, Optus is offering ” the most affected current and former customers” a free 12-month subscription to Equifax Protect, a credit monitoring and identity protection service that can help reduce the risk of identity theft.

“The most affected customers will be receiving direct communications from Optus over the coming days on how to start their subscription at no cost,” the telco said this morning.

“Please note that no communications from Optus relating to this incident will include any links as we recognise there are criminals who will be using this incident to conduct phishing scams.”

Meanwhile the supposed hackers have given Optus one week to pay A$1.54 million in ransom.

It’s unlikely Optus will pay any ransom.

The Australian Federal Police is aware of “alleging stolen Optus customer data and credentials may be being sold through a number of forums”, and claims it “is using specialist capability to monitor the dark web and other technologies, and will not hesitate to take action against those who are breaking the law.

“It is an offence to buy stolen credentials. Those who do face a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.”

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