Asia & Australia

May 14, 2019

More Than 10 Million People in Australia Hit in Data Breach

[ By Titus Manickam Rock ]


Over ten million individuals have had their information compromised in one single incident, according to the latest quarterly data breach report from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). This is slightly less than half of the total Australian population of 25.4 million.

The report shows the most number of affected individuals from a single finance-related breach was less than 500,000 and the health sector’s three heaviest impacting breaches affected less than 5,000 individuals each. The report did not provide details about the origin of the breach.

The breach was disclosed under the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme between January 1, 2019 and March 31, 2019 to the OAIC and reported in its Quarterly Statistics Report. The number of 215 data breach notifications during this period was down from the number of data breach reported in the earlier quarter of October 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018.

61% of the total number of 215, i.e. 131 was attributed to malicious or criminal attacks. Human error accounted for 75 data breaches. The figures prove data breaches continue to remain a worldwide concern in communications and transactions. Technical advances and usages carry on at breakneck speed while authorities at all levels grin and bear it handing over the breaches to securities.

OAIC received 58 NDBs during this period that concerned private health providers. 27 breaches that concerned finance that includes superannuation, legal, accounting and management services numbered 23 breaches and education had 19 breaches. The silver lining in these breaches was that the percentages of breaches in every sector were available. This raises the possibility of technically plugging such breaches.

Australia’s NDB scheme requires agencies and organizations in Australia to notify individuals of data breaches. Such notifications help raise awareness and security levels on an individual basis to help reduce breaches.

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