Australia's Commonwealth Bank loses 20m customer records

03 May, 2018, 15:59 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • A view of a Commonwealth Bank of Australia branch in Sydney Australia

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has been forced to reveal it lost the records of nearly 20 million accounts and decided not to inform its customers, another blow to an institution already reeling from multiple scandals.

The Commonwealth Bank has taken two years to admit it lost 15 years' worth of customer statements which included names, addresses and account numbers.

The inquiry, conducted by KPMG, determined the tapes had most likely been disposed of.

Porter said the data breach was "very, very disappointing" and "very serious [and] of great concern to me, the government and my office".

Sullivan said, while this all unfolded two years ago, the bank had decided it was not necessary to alert customers after discussion with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). Ongoing monitoring of accounts by CBA confirms customers do not need to take any action.

Porter said it was "unquestionable" that the banks' reputation had suffered after revelations in the royal commission including charging fees for services not provided.

In a statement issued to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), the bank has stated that there was no evidence of suspicious activity involving the 19.80 million accounts.

According to the bank, they did not contain any passwords or PIN numbers which could be used to enable account fraud.




"But we also need to recognise that based on CBA's statements, it seems highly likely the data never fell into malicious hands and whilst it's natural for people to feel that their privacy has been violated, it seems highly unlikely any unauthorised party saw the data and that it will result in any tangible loss or impact on them".

Malaysian Bank CIMB lost several magnetic tapes containing "customer information" at the end of previous year. The bank immediately put in place monitoring mechanisms to further protect customers.

"Even when you are not required to make an individual notification to affected individuals, I think it will often be prudent for organisations to make some kind of public announcement that they have had an incident and [explain] how they have addressed it", Mr Leonard said.

It said the issue was not cyber-related and there was no compromise of its technology platforms, systems, services, apps or websites and no evidence of customer harm.

The Commonwealth Bank's acting head of retail, Angus Sullivan, defended the decision not to tell customers in an interview with the ABC's AM program.

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) confirmed the news on Thursday after Buzzfeed News exposed the breach, reporting that 12 million Australians - or half the Australian population - was affected.

"We discussed this course of action with the OAIC who subsequently advised that it did not intend to take any further action in relation to the matter".

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