Cybersecurity and the Protection of Your Sensitive Online Data

Cybersecurity experts say that in Australia, each year, there are thousands of cyber breaches to businesses. These range from smaller businesses to major ones affecting large organisations. The public only hears about some of these hacks. Last month, the Optus hack was major news with its impact on nearly 10 million customers. This month, the Medibank cyberattack tops the list.  So far this year, there have been over 50 data breaches, in this country.

What is a Data Breach?

A data breach occurs when an unauthorized individual gains access to sensitive data by copying, transmitting, viewing, or stealing it. Hackers exploit this data to commit identity theft, insurance fraud, and other lucrative cybercrimes.

Data breaches can reveal data that includes financial information, numbers related to government organisations such as Centrelink, Medicare and TFN, driver’s license details, other personal data (such as phone numbers, residential and email addresses), intellectual property and trade secrets.

The Optus hack was concerning due to information that was stolen by the hackers: passport, drivers licence, Medicare, credit card, street and email addresses. As if that was not enough in terms of the data stolen, the recent Medibank breach is a step further as the details drill into an even more private area of personal information: medical records.

Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil has slammed the “criminals” claiming to be behind the Medibank data breach, labelling the attack a “dog act” on Australians.

The private health insurer on Thursday revealed it had received messages from a group claiming to have accessed the customer data and threatening to sell the information unless a ransom was paid….

 “Financial crime is a terrible thing but ultimately a credit card can be replaced, the threat that is being made here to make the private personal health information of Australians available to the public is a dog act,” she said on Thursday afternoon.

Both Optus and Medicare are large companies and should have had the necessary security systems in place to ensure that the data they have can only be accessed by those who have the required permissions. Yet, we learn that these major organisations have vulnerabilities in their IT systems that made it possible for those from the outside to get in and steal the data.

The data thieves know their trade; whether they are planning a big attack or a smaller one. Here is the experience of one person (David*) shared on talkback radio.

David is having some home renovations done and the builder emailed him an invoice for $100,000 with the bank account details. He paid the money into the bank account that he thought was the builder’s. He only later realised that, although at first glance the email address appeared to be the same as the builder’s, there was a minor difference and the bank details were not the same.

He contacted the bank immediately and fortunately for him the bank, having suspected something was not right, had set it aside. Due to the quick follow-up from David, they could stop the payment.

What had happened?
The scammers had intercepted the builder’s email on its way to David. They made the necessary changes to the invoice, email and bank account and sent it to David.

The warning from the caller to the listeners: Beware.

The scammers are one step ahead and can find ways to hack into emails and re-direct them. They can hack into telecoms and large companies, government departments and get access to information. From Webber Insurance Services, here is The Complete List of  Data Breaches In Australia (2018 – 2022).

Yet the government is telling us about this splendid Digital Id system that will make our transactions with both government and private sector so much easier.

Digital Identity provides Australian people and businesses with a single, secure way to access government and other services online…. A secure Digital Identity replaces the need for multiple logins to access different services and makes getting things done with government faster and easier. The system will expand over time to include more government agencies as well as private sector organisations.

All your details: Financial, Medical, Employment, Personal Identity, Mortgage, Passport, Centrelink, Tax, Insurance, Shopping Habits and more as one single service.

There are several entities under one umbrella. How can you be sure that a breach in any one entity—that is not even directly or indirectly connected to any of your services but connected to the overall government Digital Identity system—will not result in the exposure of your personal and sensitive information/data?

With rapidly changing technology, higher connectivity, new features, the dark web, third-party vendors, overseas call centres, budget and cost-saving measures by any of the services and different user behaviours, can anyone guarantee that your confidential data is secure?

Really secure? That hackers won’t find a way? What a treasure chest of data to gain the required information for blackmail, ransom, harassment, intimidation, fraud or crime, all easily accessed from one source. The scammers and hackers must be gleefully awaiting the national Digital Id system. They are one step ahead of the latest security devices and upgrades and can find the areas to attack.

I would recommend the following Action Plan for the Digital Id system.

The government can go ahead and launch a two-year trial, experimental version of the Digital Id system. The volunteers can be all the politicians—at every level of government—who are in favour of this system. Add on senior bureaucrats, heads of government departments and agencies, as well. If there are any WEF minions in the corporate sector, they can be enlisted, too.

After the trial period is over—we, the mere plebs—can decide if we deem the system safe enough to sign up. We can decide if we want to get ourselves a Digital Id and then QR code ourselves into hackers paradise.

The federal government plans to pass legislation where companies will face penalties of a minimum 50 million dollars instead of the current cap at 2.2 million dollars, in cases of customer information being hacked. Will there be any penalties imposed directly on the politicians in the event of any data breaches into this national Digital Id system?


Additional References:

1.  Should Optus customers be worried about the data breach?

2. Optus confirms more than two million customers had personal ID numbers stolen

3. Medibank confirms that every customer’s personal data was accessed in hack

4.  How Data Breaches Happen

5. The Dangers of a Data Breach

6. The 67 Biggest Data Breaches (Updated September 2022)

7. Why is Cybersecurity Important?

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12 Responses to Cybersecurity and the Protection of Your Sensitive Online Data

  1. JohnJJJ says:

    Hackers will always find a way. It is simple casual logic. Just a matter of time. All the cybersecurity boffins can do is make it more complex.Then society feels more safe. So the rewards of cracking the system become much greater. So there are more hackers. It ‘s a wonderful self reinforcing spiral. Gradually the cracks get greater and are covered up. (like at every Uni – they just pay the $30,000 and keep it quiet). Don’t believe any list of data breaches is exhaustive. Like asking actors if they use cocaine.
    The cybercrims get more money and get better at cracking.
    Finally it reaches the point when the DIGITAL APOCALYPSE happens. I’ve kept my pencil and paper.

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  2. kaysee kaysee says:

    Finally it reaches the point when the DIGITAL APOCALYPSE happens. I’ve kept my pencil and paper.

    At present, we cannot escape the devious tracking methods in use by the autocrats. But we can find ways to reduce how much access they get into our lives.

    I have kept away from the smartphones and opted for the dumb version. When possible, I use cash when shopping. On the internet, I use blockers, trackers and options that may protect me from the big tech monitors.

    Big Brother is still watching. But we don’t have to make it easy for him/it/them.

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  3. Shy Ted says:

    I have to say I’m sceptical about these things. It’s a matter of fact that the gummint and media lie to us ALL THE TIME ABOUT EVERYTHING. SO we read these stories but are YOU ever affected? There’s so much gummint interference in every aspect of our lives and the vast majority of agencies and we know for a fact that mates are appointed to positions with enormous power so it’s not a stretch to think that the easiest way this can be done is inside knowledge. My honest opinion is that these are inside jobs with a view to pursuing the NWO agenda. When we’ve been softened up with all these hacks, one day the big one will happen and everything you have will be stolen. When the power goes out, and it will, you’ll own nothing because it was all electronic. Plenty of chat about this on the conspiracy web, plenty of whistleblowers (so they say) and, in the end, how are they going to make sure you own nothing when it’s all electronic?
    And with that little thought you should grab a pen and paper and write down (so it can’t be electronically lost).

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  4. Shy Ted says:

    Didn’t read the above comments before posting but pen and paper and take a pic of your bank statements, share portfolios etc.

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  5. JohnJJJ says:

    Big Brother is still watching. But we don’t have to make it easy for him/it/them. They can still track you. You have to make it too confusing for them to work you out. The algorithms are there to make connections via category similarities. I give my passwords, location tracking etc to my family and a friends. So I get adverts for bras and seem to wander the world – and I am a bloke. It is funny. Just make your online self too complex to bother with. Also you can do this for surveillance cameras – but people might notice. Ha! You gotta be creative.

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  6. kaysee kaysee says:

    My honest opinion is that these are inside jobs with a view to pursuing the NWO agenda.

    There are many routes to the NWO. Many brain-dead foot-soldiers have been trained for the purpose.

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  7. kaysee kaysee says:

    Just make your online self too complex to bother with. Also you can do this for surveillance cameras – but people might notice. Ha! You gotta be creative.

    But the complex and creative takes time.

    Most of us are so busy with just coping with the basics in our day-to-day lives that we look for the quickest way to get our tasks done. Rush out to do your grocery shopping and rush back home because there are other household chores waiting for you.

    On the internet, many sites are waiting to get something from you.

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  8. Entropy says:

    Oh, and journalists, it’s these data.

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  9. PerryJ says:

    10 per cent of Optus customers leave after cyberattack

    Are customers leaving because they think another telco will be safer? Are they angry and just reacting?

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  10. johanna johanna says:

    There are things you can do.

    First, never, ever sign up to ‘rewards’ or ‘member’ programs. They are data harvesters.

    Second, use a separate account for online purchases, make sure it never has much money in it.

    Third, avoid email accounts like Gmail which monitor your activities. There are safer ones – I use gmx.

    Not saying this will prevent all harm, but it’s a start.

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