Australia’s biggest bank ‘lost’ data of up to 20mn customers & did not inform them

Australia’s largest bank lost the banking statements of as many as 12 million of its customers during a period between 2004 and 2014, according to BuzzFeed, apparently the first media outlet to report the matter. Further reports in the Australian media have suggested that almost 20 million bank account records were lost in the incident.

The potential privacy breach occurred back in 2016, when the bank’s subcontractor apparently lost several magnetic tapes containing clients’ personal information from 2000 to early 2016. Personal banking statements contain sensitive, private information that can provide a detailed picture of the financial and personal affairs of a person.

After media broke the story, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) issued a statement, confirming that the incident indeed had occurred. The bank gave no details concerning the exact number of affected customers but rushed to assure them that “there is no evidence that any customer information was compromised.”

“In May 2016 we were unable to confirm the scheduled destruction of two magnetic tapes used to print bank statements. These tapes contained information including customer names, addresses, account numbers and transaction details,” the statement says, adding that the lost data storage tapes did not contain “passwords, PIN numbers, or other data which could enable account fraud.”

“I want to assure our customers that we have taken the steps necessary to protect their information and we apologize for any concern this incident may cause,” CBA’s acting group executive for retail banking services, Angus Sullivan, told the Australian media, adding that the bank had “heightened the ongoing monitoring of accounts” and these measures still remain in place.

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