Wednesday 28 September 2022 06:53 AM Anthony Albanese tells Optus to cough up for the passports of the 10 million ... trends now
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong have called on for Optus to pay for taxpayers' passports after the data breach
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has demanded Optus pay for new passports to be issued for the up to 10 million Australians whose personal data was stolen by a hacker.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong wrote to the Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin making the demand on Wednesday.
'There is no justification for these Australians - or taxpayers more broadly on their behalf - to bear the cost of obtaining a new passport,' Ms Wong said.
Millions of affected Optus customers are already queuing up for new Medicare numbers and driver's licences as federal and state governments takes action to help those embroiled in one of the worst tech breaches to ever hit Australia.
Among the cache of information stolen from Optus were driver's licence numbers, passport details, Medicare numbers, dates of birth and home addresses.
Health Minister Mark Butler claimed Optus had taken days to inform the government that some Medicare numbers had likely been compromised.
'It’s deeply unfortunate that we were only notified that Medicare details were included in that data breach in the last 24 hours or so,' Mr Butler told ABC Radio National Breakfast on Wednesday morning.
'Right now, all the resources of government are going to protecting consumers in the face of this extraordinary breach of their personal data.'
The government is considering issuing new Medicare numbers to millions of Optus customers
The government is looking into providing new Medicare numbers for anyone affected.
Australians typically keep the same Medicare number for their entire lives.
The Medicare move comes as states and territories offer Optus customers the opportunity to replace their driver's licence for free and pressure continues to mount on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) to provide new passports to those affected as a number one priority.
If you are one of the millions of Optus customers who are worried about your drivers licence being compromised by the data breach you may be eligible to a free replacement licence
'Victims of the Optus cyber hack should not have to wait or pay significant amounts of fees to secure their personal information, and obtain a new passport,' Liberal senator James Paterson said in a statement.
DFAT said people should make their own choice as to whether or not they want a new passport, reassuring those affected that fraudsters cannot get a passport with your identity.
A statement on DFAT's website said there are 'robust controls that protect your passport from identity takeover, including sophisticated facial recognition technology'.
'They [hackers] would need your actual passport, not just your passport details.'
Optus said in a statement all customers whose identifying document numbers were compromised have been contacted.
This includes anyone whose licence or passport numbers were leaked as a result of the cyberattack.
Data stolen in the hack included drivers licence numbers, as well as passport details, Medicare numbers, dates of birth and home addresses
Optus said it was also working through contacting anyone who had other details such as their email address compromised.
The telco confirmed that no payment details or account passwords were compromised by the hack.
However, if you are one of the customers across Australia whose licence details have been compromised, some states have announced replacement drivers licenses at no cost.
Below is what has currently been implemented in each state and territory across Australia:
Anyone with a NSW driver's licence can apply for a new one online through Service NSW.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said Optus would be in touch with customers 'in the coming days' to instruct them whether or not they need to apply for a replacement driver's licence.
'People in NSW with a digital driver licence will have an interim card number issued instantaneously via the Service NSW app. A new plastic licence card will be issued within 10 business days,' Mr Dominello said.
The $29 replacement fee charged by Service NSW is expected to be reimbursed by Optus, with an official statement expected in the coming days.
At this point there is no clarification on whether or not the new licence will mean a new driver's licence number or just a new card number.
Drivers in Victoria are being encouraged to report their licence breach to the Department of Transport in order to prevent any unauthorised changes by potential hackers.
The department has asked Optus to repay the cost of new licenses to the Victorian government.
If you are worried about your licence details and have been notified by Optus to say your data has been breached, you can contact VicRoads to have your record flagged and request a replacement licence.
'By flagging records VicRoads will prevent any