Hackers have threatened to reveal the stolen health records of 1,000 famous Australians in a cybersecurity incident dubbed a “major wake-up call” by the government on Thursday.
Medibank, one of Australia’s largest private health insurers, said on Thursday the hackers claimed to have stolen 200GB of data.
“The criminal has provided a sample of records for 100 policies,” the Australian Stock Exchange said in a statement.
“This claim data includes where a client received medical services and codes related to their diagnosis and procedures.”
The insurer announced a halt to trading when details of the hack emerged on Wednesday morning.
The hackers threatened to reveal or sell the data, starting with 1,000 high-profile Australians, unless Medibank paid a ransom.
The personal details of about nine million Australians – almost a third of the population – were exposed in a hack at telecoms company Optus last month.
The Optus hack was one of the largest data breaches in Australian history.
Home Secretary Clare O’Neil said Thursday cybersecurity could no longer be taken for granted.
“Combined with Optus, this is a huge wake-up call for the country,” she told ABC Radio.
“This is the new world we live in. We will be subject to relentless cyberattacks from now on.”
Last week Reuters reported that two Australian regulators were investigating Optus, the country’s second largest telecoms provider, after a breach of its systems led to the theft of personal data from up to 10 million accounts. The investigation adds to the headaches of Optus, which disclosed the vulnerability on September 22 and has since come under heavy fire from the government and the public for failing to prevent the massive cyberattack.
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