Data privacy is more important than ever in today’s increasingly connected world.
After all, personal information is potentially vulnerable to cyberattacks which can compromise individuals’ privacy and safety.
Personal information belonging to 129,000 customers was leaked in the breach.
On Wednesday (17 Feb), Singtel said that personal information of customers such as names, addresses, phone numbers, identification numbers, and dates of birth were stolen by hackers.
In total, 129,000 Singtel customers were affected, reported the Telco.
Additionally, the bank account details of 28 former Singtel employees, as well as credit card details of 45 employees of a corporate customer, were also stolen.
The leaked information was originally stored in an Accellion file transfer appliance (FTA) system, a file-sharing system used by Singtel.
However, FTA files were illegally accessed on 20 Jan, said Singtel.
The perpetrators of the data theft have yet to be identified.
According to ST, some of this information may have been uploaded onto a site on the dark web belonging to ransomware hackers.
Hackers from the Clop gang had reportedly leaked more than 11GB of data such as payment details and e-mail exchanges online.
Besides Singtel, 25 other firms also had their data hacked, reports ST.
The hackers had then asked on their site for $250,000 worth of Bitcoin to “avoid this situation”.
Singtel clarified that for the most part, information stolen was non-sensitive in nature, including test data, reports, e-mails, and data logs.
The telco is now reaching out to affected individuals and corporate customers and offering support on how to manage the risk associated with the breach.
Singtel’s chief executive, Mr Yuen Kuan Moon says Singtel is trying to be as transparent as possible, monitoring online sites and keeping affected customers informed.
He also took the opportunity to apologise to customers for the incident.
Mr Yuen emphasised that Singtel’s core operations and functions are not affected by this standalone incident.
Moving forward, Singtel assures customers that information security remains their highest priority.
The telco will also carry out reviews on their systems and processes to strengthen security.
While such cyberattacks are rare, a spokesperson from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky urged companies never to agree to the demands of criminals under such circumstances.
Instead, companies should reach out to law enforcement agencies or security vendors to combat it.
Though the data breach was no doubt unfortunate, we are glad that Singtel stepped forward to admit to the shortcomings and vowed to do better.
We hope Singtel and other companies would put in place the necessary safeguards to prevent such breaches moving forward.
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Featured image adapted from Twitter.
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