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The alleged Medibank hackers have claimed customer data had been removed from the private health insurer’s database after it got hit by a cyber attack.
Federal government agencies are working with Medibank to examine the incident in an investigation into the hack after the health insurer disclosed it had received messages from the alleged hackers who claimed customer data had been stolen, days after the cyber attack.
Australian companies must do more to protect customer data, according to Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil, noting that “the situation was concerning” and that agencies were working to stop the data from being released on the internet.
“We need to do a lot better as a country to make sure that we are doing everything we can within organisations to protect customer data and also for citizens to be doing everything they can,” Minister O'Neil told ABC Radio on Thursday.
“This is the new world that we live in, we are going to be under relentless cyber attack essentially from here on in.”
After speaking with Medibank’s CEO, Minister O’Neil explained it is too early to tell how many customers had been affected by the Medibank hack.
The health insurer is now working alongside federal police and the Australian Signals Directorate to manage the breach.
“The reason that I am so concerned about this at the moment is because, of course, of the sensitive nature of the information involved,” Minister O'Neil added.
“What we have here is information that’s held by this organisation, which is healthcare information, and that just on its own being made public can cause immense harm to Australians.”
Medibank went into a trading halt at the Australian Securities Exchange after it was contacted by the alleged hackers.
The private health insurer asserts its systems have not been encrypted by ransomware, which means usual activities for customers continues.
“We continue to work with specialised cyber security firms and have advised the Australian Cyber Security Centre,’ Medibank said.
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