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How a massive data breach has exposed Australia


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Last week, Australian telecommunications giant Optus revealed about 10 million customers - about 40% of the population - had personal data stolen in what it calls a cyber-attack.

Some experts say it may be the worst data breach in Australia's history.

But this week has seen more dramatic and messy developments - including ransom threats, tense public exchanges and scrutiny over whether this constituted a "hack" at all.

It's also ignited critical questions about how Australia handles data and privacy.


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The Australian federal police have launched “Operation Guardian” to protect current and former Optus customers from identity crime and financial fraud.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, confirmed on Friday that Optus had agreed to pay for the replacement of passports exposed in the leak of 9.8 million customer records.

AFP assistant commissioner Justine Gough announced the new operation on Friday, saying the priority for federal police will be the 10,000 records – including passport, Medicare and driver’s licence information – that were posted on a data breach website earlier this week.


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