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Victorian public servants’ work details stolen in Data breach


In an incident of data breach, 30,000 Victorian government employees' work details have been stolen by the hackers. The work details have been stolen after part of Victorian Government directory got downloaded by an unidentified party. The list is available with the government employees (or public servants), and contains work phone numbers, work emails and job titles.


An email was also sent to those employees who were affected by the data breach, and they were told that their mobile numbers might also have been accessed by the hackers in case they were entered in the directory. The email further reads that due to this incident the affected government employees may experience more phishing, social engineering and spam attempts via their work telephone numbers and email address. The email also state that as always, one should be aware about these risks and remain alert when it is about unsolicited communications via telephone and email.


However, the employees were further informed that their financial and banking information were safe, and remains unaffected by the breach. Researcher in University of Melbourne's Cybersecurity and Privacy, Suelette Dreyfus said that though it seems highly sensitive or personal information were not stolen, but the dataset as whole can be useful for the hackers to plan more specific and targeted attack.


Dr. Dreyfus added, "if you take even small snippets of information and you aggregate them into a dataset, you can then get an image of the entire State Government because you know all the different people, their positions, their phone numbers ... and you can figure out where the power centre is and who you would target if you were going to try to hack someone's email". As per her, the dataset can be valuable to anybody trying to influence the decision making of government.


Dr. Dreyfus also said that whether that is for commercial reasons like winning a contract, or you are international state player might having an interest -- policy or financial wise -- all these people actually could be benefitted by the hacked information.


The Premier's Department has already reported the breach to the Police, the Office of Victorian Information Commissioner and the Australian Cyber Security Centre. A department spokesperson says in a statement that "the Government will ensure any learnings from the investigation are put in place to better protect against breaches like this in the future".


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