Kelly Bayer Rosemary Says Cyberattack Was Sophisticated, Admits Telcos Lost Customers

“Of course, immediately afterwards there were customers who decided to leave us and that’s understandable,” said Rosemary. “But I think some reports have been grossly exaggerated. We are already able to be net customer positive again or grow our customer base.”


Last month, the federal government considered banning ransom payments to cybercriminals because it could encourage further hacking attempts, like those suffered by health insurer Medibank last year.

However, with experts predicting a further escalation in cybercrime this year, Rosemary said ruling out ransom payments is not feasible.

“Everyone has a no-ransom policy, but it’s too absolutist to say ‘never’ because the evidence doesn’t support it,” she said.

Narelle Devine, Telstra Asia Pacific Chief Information Security Officer, also said there are instances where paying a ransom might be warranted. “There are some very small, niche cases where there can be circumstances where companies say, ‘Actually, we need to do this now’.”

Rosemary said she was unable to provide any further details about the cyberattack due to ongoing criminal investigations into the matter.

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Brian Lowry

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