After news broke yesterday that Optus had experienced a cyberattack which caused millions of Australians’ personal info to be leaked, panic broke out.

Though many of the telecommunication company’s customers knew about the breach from the news, there was little information about how the victims could protect themselves. Fortunately, Optus executives have now released some advice about what those affected can do to help protect themselves from the leak.

“Unfortunately, because this is not the most vulnerable information like financial detail and passwords, we don’t have a simple message of ‘just change your password’,” Optus boss Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said at an online press conference today.

“Really what customers can do is just be vigilant. If they receive a notification that a password has been changed on one of their online services or their bank, and they did not initiate that, then assume that they need to report that and get on top of it straightaway.

“So it really is increased vigilance, and just being alert to any activity that seems suspicious or odd or out of the ordinary.”

Yesterday, Optus released a statement announcing that they had suffered a massive data breach – which means that confidential information was illegally stolen from the telecommunication companies, likely by hackers. The Australian has reported that up to 2.8 million Optus customers had all of their private information taken, and 7 million had information like their dates of birth, email addresses and phone numbers taken by the hackers.

“We are devastated to discover that we have been subject to a cyberattack that has resulted in the disclosure of our customers’ personal information to someone who shouldn’t see it,” part of the statement read.

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Rosmarin told Optus customers to be wary that they may receive phone calls asking for online passwords, and that these calls could be related to the recent breach.

“If somebody calls you and says they want to connect to your computer and give them your password, say no, don’t allow that to occur,” she said. “We know that was already occurring before so it might not be related, but it’s a good reminder to people not to fall for that one.

“Also, in terms of contacting our customers, we have not been very specific and prescriptive about how we’re doing that specifically for the reason that we do not want to give people the opportunity to get out in front of us with a phishing attack. We will be contacting our customers, we won’t be telling you exactly how we’re doing that, except to say that we will not be sending any links in SMS and email messages.”

The telecommunications company recommends that customers who are concerned that their information has been leaked should contact Optus directly.

“If customers are concerned that their information has been compromised, they’re encouraged to contact Optus directly,” the company said in a statement on its website.

“We are in the process of contacting customers who have been directly impacted.”

“If you believe your account has been compromised, you can contact us via My Optus App – which remains the safest way to contact Optus or call us on 133 937 for consumer customers. Due to the impact of the cyberattack, wait times may be longer than usual.”

“If you are a business customer, contact us on 133 343 or your account manager.”

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