Global mining group Rio Tinto Australian staff hit by cyberattack

Personal data may have been stolen

Global mining group Rio Tinto Australian staff hit by cyberattack


By Roxanne Libatique

Personal data of global mining group Rio Tinto's former and current Australian employees might have been stolen by cybercriminals.

A staff memo seen by Reuters showed that a cybercriminal group might have obtained the payroll information, such as payslips and overpayment letters, of several employees from January 2023.

“Investigations now indicate a possibility that Rio Tinto data may be impacted,” the memo said, as reported by Reuters.

The cybercriminal group has threatened to release the data on the dark web while the company investigates the issue, according to the memo referred to in the Reuters report.

“To date, none of the records described above have been released, and we still do not know if the cybercriminal group holds these records or not,” the memo said.

Australian fintech hit by cyberattack

Rio Tinto's cyber breach follows Australian fintech firm Latitude Group Holdings' (Latitude) announcement last Monday that it took its platforms offline after finding that the cyberattack detected in the previous week remained active.

Reuters reported that the attack appeared “well-organised,” and the firm will resume services “gradually over the coming days.”

Cyber incidents – the impact on Australians

Australians have been facing a mountain of cyberattacks since the COVID-19 pandemic compelled companies and organisations to go digital.

The Australian government's latest Notifiable Data Breaches report found that the number of breaches in the second half of 2022 (H2 2022) rose by 26% from the same period in the previous year – with 33 of the 40 breaches that affected over 5,000 Australians resulting from cyber security incidents.

“We saw a significant increase in data breaches that impacted a larger number of Australians in the second half of 2022,” said Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk. “Cyber security incidents continue to have a significant impact on the community and were the cause of the majority of large-scale breaches.”

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