Service NSW: working to improve cyber security

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Service NSW is in the final stages of analysis into the cyber attack earlier this year on 47 staff email accounts and is now working to notify customers who had personal information in the breach.

Service NSW cyber incident

Learn more about the Service NSW cyber incident or watch the video to find out more about the department's response.

Service NSW Cyber Incident

Read a transcript of the video

Service NSW was the target of a cyber attack earlier this year on 47 staff emails accounts.

An investigation is ongoing and now Service NSW has started notifying impacted customers by person to person registered Australia Post.

If you receive a letter, it will provide important information about our care service and dedicated help and support.

Service NSW will never call you out of the blue or send an email about this breach asking for personal, private or payment information about this incident.

If someone claims to be from Service NSW, you can verify the contact by calling Service NSW directly on 13 77 88.

We’re sorry our defences weren’t able to stop this criminal attack on customer information.

Working alongside Cyber Security NSW, NSW Police and the Privacy Commissioner, Service NSW has already added additional security measures to protect against this type of attack in the future.

Be assured, Service NSW has put the safety of customers at the centre of our response to this breach.

How affected customers will be notified

Customers at risk will be notified by person-to-person registered Australia Post which they’ll have to show photo ID and sign for. The letter will be personalised and include important information about the specific individual data accessed during the breach and how to get support.

The Service NSW investigation has been thorough and required a highly technical approach to identify the exact amount of customer information in the 3.8million documents (738 gigabytes of data) stolen from the email accounts. This rigorous first step surfaced about 500,000 documents which referenced personal information.

Next steps 

This cyber incident was a criminal attack. Cyber-attacks occur daily, and Service NSW is often able to intercept them. On this occasion Service NSW couldn’t stop the attack.

There is a NSW Police investigation underway and a review by the auditor general of Service NSW’s practices and systems This includes a review of cyber security defences, practices, systems and education.

Service NSW is now focussing on providing the best advice for approximately 186,000 customers identified with data in the breach. In addition to the personalized letters being sent by Registered Australia Post, Service NSW has a bespoke support service available including individual case managers for complex circumstances.

Service NSW has accelerated its cyber security plans and the modernisation of legacy business processes to keep customer information as safe as possible.

How customers can protect their privacy

There are some steps you can take whether or not you’ve been affected by this breach, to check and protect your identity, finances and personal information.

  1. Protect your passwords – use passphrases and use different ones in different places. 
  2. Master “multifactor” – set up and learn to use multifactor authentication for your important accounts. 
  3. Fortify your finances – check bank statements and report anything amiss, and set up a credit alert. 
  4. Spot a scam – be alert to emails and calls from unknown sources or requesting personal details. 
  5. Dig a little deeper –  check with the ATO for any unauthorized requests for early release of your super. 

For more visit Staying Safe Online.

Over the coming months, the NSW Government will be working to raise awareness of scams and empower people to better protect their own identities when working online.

We know this may be a stressful time for many people. If you need emotional support both Lifeline and Beyond Blue may be able to help you. You can call Beyond Blue’s 24/7 support line on 1300 224 436, and Lifeline can be contacted via phone 24/7 on 13 11 14.

Related information

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