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Optus is reportedly sending cyber attack letters to dead people

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People took to social media to complain about how Optus handled the cyber attack. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

Optus has reportedly sent letters to dead people and others who were never customers of the telecoms giant telling them their personal details had been hacked.

Another sign that the company was able to overcome the cyberattack is that many people complained on social media about the generic emails they received.

“I received a letter from Optus addressed to a former resident,” wrote one person.

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“Given I’ve lived in this house for over ten years I wonder how far back Optus data is stored? How many people still don’t know their data has been compromised?”

Another person wrote: “A month after the Optus cyber attack I received an email saying my license number had been exposed. It’s been over 12 years since I’ve been their customer.”

Tech commentator Jeff Quattromani told NCA NewsWire that the emails seemed to be coming out sporadically.

“It’s almost like Optus is just trying to email or send letters to everyone who may have been in contact with them at some point in time, whether it’s through one of their subsidiaries, a competition or they just keep them somewhere in the database,” he said.

Optus has reportedly sent letters to dead people and others who were never customers in connection with a recent cyber attack.  Photo: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
Optus has reportedly sent letters to dead people and others who were never customers in connection with a recent cyber attack. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

“For people who have never been an Optus customer, getting this information from Optus just seems like a no-brainer. It just doesn’t make sense so I’m very confused.

“I don’t think Optus has been very forthcoming in giving us any details about how it happened or why it happened, and I think it’s just going to confuse more people than it’s going to help them at the moment.”

Mr Quattromani said Optus appeared to be “stuffing” and not related to anything the hacker had done.

“Usually when someone hacks you, they take data — they don’t usually mess with your data,” he said.

“It’s quite difficult to do compared to a simple download, so I guess it’s unrelated from a hacking point of view, but I think Optus is trying to do the best they can and communicate with their customers.

“I think they’ve lost the definition of what a customer is and they’re just trying to reach out to anyone who might have been affected, but it’s a different response to who is affected.”

Mr Quattromani said if a person had never been an Optus customer, there was no reason to contact them at all.

“Many of the people sending these letters are people who may have lived at that address in the past, or they don’t know who these people are at all,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s addressed to the wrong person at the right address.

“It could be someone who was a Virgin Mobile customer. It could be someone who was a customer of Boost Mobile. They were both once owned by Optus.’

Mr Quattromani says Gladys Berejiklian should be appointed Optus spokesperson.  Photo: John Grainger
Mr Quattromani says Gladys Berejiklian should be appointed Optus spokesperson. Photo: John Grainger

Mr Quattromani said some people contacted may have simply entered the competition through Optus.

“You could be a Telstra customer and still enter the Optus raffle and potentially give away your postal address and your name as a result,” he said.

“I think Optus are just trying to wrangle every database they have of who has interacted with them, assuming that they could all be affected in some way.”

Mr Quattromani also suggested it was time for Optus to appoint Gladys Berejiklian as a spokeswoman because she had media experience and the case had been “dragging on” for too long.

“I think the person in charge of the ship is a bad communicator,” he said.

“It’s a big deal, and I’m pretty sure Gladys wouldn’t turn down an opportunity like that.

“It seems like mistake after mistake and they probably just need to fix it by just appointing the right spokesperson.”

An Optus spokesperson told NCA NewsWire that the company does not comment on individual customer situations.

“In some cases, the contact information we had for affected customers was out of date,” they said.

“At first we tried to contact customers using the fastest communication methods, such as email or SMS, but sent letters by post when those methods didn’t work.”

Sydney

Angie Raphael has nearly two decades of journalism experience. Angie began her career in regional and community newspapers, then spent 10 years with the Australian Associated Press before joining NCA Ne… Read more

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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/optus-reportedly-sending-cyber-attack-letters-to-dead-people/news-story/1051d1064906c9e295f6095a0dc34ce3

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