CANBERRA: Australia: After hackers targeted Optus, the country's second-largest telecoms firm, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the country will change privacy rules to force companies that experience cyber-attacks to quickly notify banks.
Last week, Optus, which is owned by Singapore Telecoms Ltd, said the home addresses, drivers' licences and passport numbers of up to 10 million customers, or some 40 percent of Australians, were compromised.
The company did not reveal how its security was breached, but said the attacker's IP address, or unique identifier of a computer, appeared to move between countries in Europe.
Australian media reported an unidentified party demanded a ransom of $1 million in cryptocurrency in an online forum.
Albanese stressed that the incident was "a huge wake-up call," adding that some states and criminal groups wanted to access people's data.
In an interview with radio station 4BC, Albanese said, "We want to make sure that we change some of the privacy provisions there so that if people are caught up like this, the banks can know, so that they can protect their customers, as well."
Cybersecurity Minister Clare O'Neil said Optus was responsible for the breach, telling parliament, "One significant question is whether the cyber security requirements that we place on large telecommunications providers in this country are fit for purpose."
Optus said it would offer the most affected customers free credit monitoring and identity protection with credit agency Equifax for one year, but it did not confirm how many customers will be offered this benefit.
To fortify its cyber defenses, in 2020 Australia said it would spend $1.1 billion over the next decade.