Australian Man Sentenced for Scam Related to Optus Hack 


Australian authorities this week announced the sentencing of a Sydney man for attempting to blackmail Optus customers using leaked data stolen during a September 2022 data breach at the wireless carrier.

The Optus hack resulted in the theft of personal information belonging to 9.8 million customers, including names, birth dates, physical and email addresses, and phone numbers. For 2.1 million customers, numbers associated with identification documents were also compromised.

The incident was disclosed on September 22, with the attackers leaking the personal information of roughly 10,000 individuals a few days later.

The attackers demanded a $1 million ransom in cryptocurrency, threatening to release more of the stolen information each day until a payment was made.

On October 6, the Australian Federal Police announced the arrest of a Sydney man who attempted to use the leaked data to extort money from individuals impacted by the data breach.

The man, now 20, sent text messages to more than 90 Optus customers, demanding that they transfer $2,000 AUD (roughly $1,300 USD) to a bank account in the name of the scammer.

The youngster pleaded guilty on November 8 to two “counts of using a telecommunications network with intent to commit a serious offense […], where the serious offense is blackmail”, the Australian authorities say.

The individual was sentenced to 18-month community correction order and 100 hours of community service.

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Gem Security Gets $11 Million Seed Investment for Cloud Incident Response Platform 


Israeli venture group Team8 has bankrolled an $11 million seed-stage investment in Gem Security, a startup with ambitious plans in the cloud threat detection and incident response space.

Gem Security, based in Tel Aviv, emerged from stealth Wednesday with technology that promises to give corporate security teams a practical way to manage threat detection, investigation and response in cloud deployments.

The company said its product supports all major infrastructure platforms — AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and Kubernetes — and integrates with  identity providers, source code repositories and secrets managers, leveraging the additional data for context analysis. 

Gem Security and its investors are betting that there’s a growing market for enabling cloud security operations as attack surfaces expand exponentially with enterprise digital transformation activities. 

“The adoption of cloud infrastructure is increasing and diversifying the attack surface for organizations. 90% of all organizations use more than one cloud provider,” Gem Security said in a note announcing the funding.

“The expansion in attack surface is rarely paralleled with coverage by detection and response initiatives, leaving organizations unaware of a variety of threat vectors. 79% of companies have experienced at least one cloud data breach in the last 18 months, with 43% of companies reporting ten or more,” the company added.

While there is no shortage of products for detection and response, Gem Security is arguing that legacy approaches fall short of providing tooling for the cloud era. Today, the company says companies must work continuously on preparation, detection, investigation and response to cloud data threats. 

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