Optus owner Singtel has suffered another serious Australian breach, with data appearing on the dark web after an “unauthorised third party” accessed customer information and the personal records of 1,000 employees.
Australian-based company The Dialog Group – which Singtel acquired in March for $325 million – announced the breach today, which it says it detected a month ago, on September 10.
The Dialog Group said sensitive information pertaining to as many as 20 of its clients may be impacted, which it termed as a breach “potentially affecting fewer than 20 clients”.
“The Dialog Group (Dialog) today confirmed that the company has experienced a cyber security incident in which an unauthorised third party may have accessed company data, potentially affecting fewer than 20 clients and 1,000 current Dialog employees as well as former employees,” it said.
The company lists 36 clients on its website under the heading “Dialog’s extensive client portfolio”.
“On Saturday 10 September 2022, we detected unauthorised access on our servers, which were then shut down as a preventative measure,” The Dialog Group said.
“Within two business days, our servers were restored and fully operational.
“On Friday 7 October 2022 we became aware that a very small sample of Dialog’s data, including some employee personal information, was published on the Dark Web,” the group said.
In a statement to current and former employees, The Dialog Group said it had notified Federal Government agencies the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).
It was “supporting those who may be impacted” to “protect against the risk of fraudulent activity”.
The Dialog Group said it was “doing our utmost to address the situation” and “actively sharing information and advice with our employees and customers”.
18 of the 36 clients listed as part of “Dialog’s extensive client portfolio”. Source: The Dialog Group
The company says it employs “over 1,200 consultants nationwide” and is“Australia’s leading privately owned information technology services organisation”.
The company said after it became aware of the breach on September 10 it contracted a “leading cybersecurity specialist”.
“We contracted a leading cyber security specialist to work with our IT team to undertake a deep forensic investigation and continuous monitoring of the Dark Web,” The Dialog Group said.
“Our ongoing investigations showed no evidence of unauthorised downloading of data.
“On Friday 7 October 2022 we became aware that a small sample of Dialog’s data, including some employee personal information, was published on the Dark Web,” it said.
The other 18 clients listed as part of “Dialog’s extensive client portfolio”. Source: The Dialog Group
Less than three weeks ago it emerged telco giant Optus, which is also 100 per cent owned by Singtel, had suffered one of the biggest data breaches in Australian history, with the personal details of 9.8 million customers exposed.
Australia’s Cyber Security and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has said the “unprecedented” breach was a “simple hack”.
The group says Trustwave provides its “award-winning”, “elite cybersecurity expertise” across 96 countries.
Optus and Singtel have repeatedly refused to comment when asked whether Trustwave was being used to protect the security of Optus’s 10m-plus customers.
Trustwave is the “global security arm of Singtel, Optus and NCS”, the group says.
It was the Singtel division NCS that bought The Dialog Group in March for $325m.
“The scale of this acquisition, our largest to date, reflects our firm commitment to growing our business beyond the shores of Singapore, particularly in Australia where we can also leverage the strategic presence of the Singtel Group,” NCS CEO Ng Kuo Pin said at the time.
“The scale of this acquisition, our largest to date, reflects our firm commitment to growing our business beyond the shores of Singapore, particularly in Australia where we can also leverage the strategic presence of the Singtel Group.
“Dialog’s commitment to clients and technology has made it one of the leading tech companies in Australia, serving both government and enterprise clients,” Ng said
The Dialog Group says its services “range from strategic IT consulting through full lifecycle application development” and “managed application services to long-term operational support”.
“Dialog’s subsidiary companies provide complementary products and specialist services,” the group says.
“Dialog has delivered innovative solutions to clients across all industries including all levels of government,” it says.
“Dialog has delivered innovative solutions to clients across all industries including all levels of government”
The Dialog Group has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide and Darwin.
Singtel posted The Dialog Group’s announcement to the Singapore Stock Exchange today, along with the following:
“Dialog, an Australia-based IT services consulting company, was acquired in April 2022 by NCSI Holdings Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of NCS Pte Ltd, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singtel,” Singtel said.
“Dialog’s systems are completely independent from NCS, Optus and Singtel.
“There is no evidence there is any link between this incident and the recent event experienced by Optus,” the group said.
Optus is Australia’s second biggest wireless carrier.
Optus and its CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin came under serious scrutiny this year, after Bayer Rosemarin announced in February she had appointed former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, to a senior role.
Berejiklian resigned as Premier of NSW – Australia’s biggest state – in October last year after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said she was one of two people under investigation in a corruption probe.
ICAC is yet to release its findings.
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