Medibank hackers may be in Russia, as well as in “other countries”, say police, as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s suggestions of a major breakthrough fail to materialise. Anthony Klan reports.



A major public breakthrough in the Medibank data hack flagged by the Australian Prime Minister has failed to materialise, with police announcing they “believe” the hackers “are in Russia”.

“We believe those responsible for the breach are in Russia and intelligence points to a group of loosely affiliated cyber criminals who are likely responsible,” said Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw.

“We also believe some affiliates may be in other countries”.

The hackers were “operating like a business with affiliates and associates who are supporting the business”, Kershaw said.

Earlier today Prime Minster Anthony Albanese said the government had determined who was responsible for the attack.

“We know where they’re coming from, we know who is responsible and we say that they should be held to account,” the Prime Minister said.

“We know where they’re coming from, we know who is responsible and we say that they should be held to account” – Anthony Albanese

“I’ve certainly authorised the AFP Commissioner later today to disclose where these attacks are coming from.”

In a press conference this afternoon, Kershaw said the AFP would be “holding talks” with Russian law enforcement.

“We believe we know which individuals are responsible but I’m not naming them,” he said.

“But what I will say is that we will be holding talks with Russian law enforcement about these individuals”.

Russia is currently invading Ukraine, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes.

“Russia is currently invading Ukraine, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes”

Both Medibank and major telco Optus have recently suffered mass breaches, with ransoms demanded in each case.

Sources have told The Klaxon that a ransom was paid following the mass breach at Optus, disclosed in September, where personal details of 9.8 million current and former customers were stolen.

That’s despite Optus reportedly telling media that “we didn’t pay”.

It can now be revealed that Optus CEO Kelly Bayer-Rosmarin is refusing to stand by that claim.

Bayer-Rosmarin, who is facing calls to resign over her handling of the affair, refused to respond when The Klaxon asked her whether Optus, Singtel – or any entity or entities acting on their behalf – had paid a ransom to the alleged attacker.

“Bayer-Rosmarin refused to respond when asked whether a ransom had been paid to the alleged attacker”

Optus is owned by Singtel, which is controlled and majority-owned by the Singaporean Government.

Medibank has said it won’t pay a ransom as doing so would encourage further criminal behaviour.

The alleged Medibank attackers have been posting sensitive customer information, including details about health conditions, on the dark web.

Optus announced its data breach on September 22, after it was revealed in a media report.

On September 26 the alleged attacker posted 10,000 Optus customer records online and threatened to post 10,000 more each day, for four days, unless Optus paid US$1m ransom in cryptocurrency.

Hours later the attacker abruptly deleted the threats, apologised and said they had deleted all the Optus data they had obtained, and that there had only been one copy.

“Too many eyes. We will not sale [sic] data to anyone. We can’t if we even want to: personally deleted data from drive (Only copy),” the alleged attacker wrote.

“Sorry too [sic] 10,200 Australian whos [sic] data was leaked.

“Australia will see no gain in fraud, this can be monitored.

“Deepest apologies to Optus for this,” the alleged attacker wrote.

The move was labelled an “extraordinary backflip”.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported an “Optus spokesperson” as stating “we didn’t pay”.

“(The alleged attacker’s apology) followed the FBI being called in and sparked rumours that Optus may have paid up, but an Optus spokesman told the Herald and The Age that day: ‘We didn’t pay’,” it reported.

A report yesterday quoted Bayer-Rosmarin saying the Federal Government had lacked “context” about the hack.

“She conceded the government lacked ‘context’ in the early handling of Optus’ crisis,” the SMH reports.

“At this moment in time, we are not aware of any harm coming to any cut through misuse of this data and that is thanks to the very fast and collaborative work of the Optus team with the ACSC and the Australian police,” Bayer-Rosmarin is quoted as saying. “We hope to keep it that way.”

On Wednesday The Klaxon revealed directors of Singtel were given major pay rises just weeks before the Optus mass breach.

Payments to directors for sitting on  “committees” – such as the Audit Committee, Risk Committee and the “Optus Advisory Committee” – surged by up to 100 per cent.

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