Optus has announced that they will pay for new passports for Australians who were affected by the recent cyber attack on the telecommunications company.

Seven million Optus customers had information like their dates of birth, email addresses and phone numbers taken and up to 2.8 million Optus customers had their passport numbers and driver’s license numbers taken too last week by the hackers who accessed and obtained data from the telecommunications company. This information can be used to take out loans and credit, and to commit identity theft.

To help protect Aussies from possible identity theft, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed that Optus will cover the costs of new passports for all those affected.

“Optus have responded to the request that I made both in the parliament and that Senator Wong made in writing to Optus … they will cover the costs of replacing affected customers’ passports,” he told reporters after a meeting of national cabinet.

“I think that’s entirely appropriate. I find it extraordinary that the Federal Opposition called upon taxpayers to foot the bill.”

Albanese initially called on Optus to cover the costs of new passports earlier in the week, but didn’t immediately recieve a response.

“The taxpayers shouldn’t pay for this. Our view is very clear. We’ll continue to pursue that view,” the Prime Minister told 5AA radio.

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Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, Optus chief executive, confirmed the breach on August 22nd in a statement earlier today and confirmed that their customer’s payment information hadn’t been leaked.

“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,” the statement began.

It continued, “Information which may have been exposed includes customers’ names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, and, for a subset of customers, addresses, ID document numbers such as driver’s licence or passport numbers.  Payment detail and account passwords have not been compromised.”

All Optus customers who were affected by the breach were contacted via email and SMS on Monday.

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