How to get a free passport: Optus victims to be given new travel documents after the government demanded the telco pay up for its hack
- Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed Optus would pay for new passports
- The telco agreed to pay after up to 10million of its customers were hacked
- It comes as the AFP starts new taskforce to track down Optus victims’ details
Optus has agreed to pay for the new passport of any victim embroiled in the telco’s massive hack, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed.
The opposition had heaped pressure on the federal government to pay for new passports for the more than 10million people that may have had their travel document details stolen in last week’s hack.
After National Cabinet on Friday, Mr Albanese confirmed that Optus had agreed to pay for their replacements.
Mr Albanese said it was ‘entirely appropriate’ for Optus to pay up.
‘I find it extraordinary that the federal opposition called upon taxpayers to foot the bill.
‘I note (former Coalition minister) Paul Fletcher’s comments that attempted to play politics with this issue and blame the government, him having sat in a cabinet for nine years and his failure to provide any criticism on a serious level on Optus.’
Optus has already agreed to pay for new drivers’ licences for anyone impacted.
Anthony Albanese said it was ‘entirely appropriate’ for Optus to pay the bill
Those impacted by the Optus hack will get free passports, paid for by the telco
It comes as the Australian Federal Police sets up a new task force to help protect customers affected by the Optus data breach from identity theft.
Operation Guardian, launched by the AFP in collaboration with state and territory forces, will help impacted customers and safeguard Australians against cybercrime.
The more than 10,000 people whose identity documents are known to have been released during the breach are being prioritised by the task force to ensure they do not become victims of financial fraud.
AFP Assistant Commissioner of Cyber Command Justine Gough said investigators would deliver justice for those whose personal information had been compromised.
But she admitted investigators were still determining exactly how many people were affected.
‘Customers affected by the breach will receive multi-jurisdictional and multi-layered protection from identity crime and financial fraud,’ she told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
Guardian will focus on monitoring online forums and other internet and the dark web sites for criminals trying to exploit the identity information.
‘The AFP and law enforcement across Australia are taking this crime very seriously,’ Ms Gough said.
‘Cybercrime is the break-and-enter of the 21st century and we encourage all Australians to be extra vigilant about their online security at this time.’
She urged Australians to report suspicious activity related to bank accounts, not click on links in text messages and be wary of phone calls from people claiming to be Optus staff.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has criticised the government for not introducing new privacy legislation to parliament following the Optus hack.
He said Australians should be ‘white hot with anger’ after their sensitive information was stolen.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus earlier this week said the government was seeking to put legislation to the lower house by year’s end.
But this was slammed as being too slow by the coalition.
‘It should have been in the parliament this week, the government was aware of this problem,’ he told Nine on Friday.
‘I think 10million Australians should be white hot with anger that their information was compromised and the home affairs minister went missing for three days.’
Optus will foot the bill for new passports and driver’s licences
The opposition has called for the government to unfreeze ‘critical’ cyber security funding, which is being reviewed along with other industry grants given by the former Morrison government.
More than $60 million in cyber security training grants have been withheld.
Opposition industry spokeswoman Sussan Ley said delaying funding from the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund was inexcusable.
‘Labor have already been forced to retract unfounded political attacks on other initiatives which supported some of our most critical sectors to boost sovereign capability – and now this failure to support our cyber security industry has left our country weaker,’ she said.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles labelled the breach a ‘wake up call’ for the corporate sector.