A new, heavy, cyberattack in Australia against this time a large financial institution: Latitude Financial (consumer credit provider to chains of department stores, general and sector, including Harvey Norman, David Jones, Apple and JB Hi-Fi).
According to a calculation by the institution's executives, identity documents of 238,100 customers were "stolen", including the driver's licenses of about another <>,<>.
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"Latitude apologizes to impacted customers and is taking immediate steps to contact them individually," said a statement submitted to the ASX stock exchange. Latitude is cooperating with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and has confirmed that it has alerted the relevant security authorities.
Australian Minister for Cybersecurity, Clare O'Neil, "welcomed Latitude's collaborative approach with the ACSC and regulators" to minimise the damage caused by the attack: "This incident is another call for everyone in the community to be vigilant about their personal cybersecurity," she said.
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It is not known whether a ransom was demanded for not publishing the stolen personal data, but analysts predict that the incident will trigger costs of many millions of dollars, although the damage will be difficult to assess.
The company has also attracted criticism from industry experts, for the vulnerability of its systems: "Here is another case of credential theft - said to the Sydney Morning Herald the professor of the Cyber Security Program of the Latrobe University of Melbourne, Jabed Chowdhuri - it is time for Australian companies to give the right priority to passwords and identity management".
"A two- or even three-step password protection mechanism is the necessity of the present time," he added.
The new attack follows those last year against the telephone network Optus and against the national health insurance agency Medibank, with the massive publication of confidential medical data. And it exacerbates fears that cyber defences in Australia's government, legislative and private sectors are not keeping pace with rapidly evolving threats.