80,000 Workers Could be Caught up in SA Government Payroll Provider Breach

80,000 Workers Could be Caught up in SA Government Payroll Provider Breach
Photo: Jack Guez, Getty Images

The personal information of thousands of public servants in South Australia appear caught up in a data breach, with the state government confirming on Friday its external payroll software provider fell victim to ransomware.

In a statement, South Australia Treasurer Rob Lucas said the SA government was on Thursday informed by its payroll provider, Frontier Software, that it was the victim of a ransomware attack. He said “significant personal information” of SA government employees had been stolen from Frontier’s systems as a result.

Although the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) was told on Thursday about the data breach, it actually heard a day prior that some SA government data had been stolen from their network and published on the dark web.

Currently, 38,000 individuals are confirmed being caught up in the data breach. But it is believed the ransomware attack might affect around 80,000 people. Lucas said the government is currently working with Frontier to try and establish a more accurate estimate.

According to Lucas, the information breached includes first and last name, date of birth, tax file number, home address, bank account details, employment start date, payroll period and salary (including all tax, super and overall remuneration info). Yikes.

The data breach affects all SA government departments, except the Education Department, which uses a different payroll system. Those who have their data compromise include the most junior of staff, all the way through to the most senior employees.

“The government’s priority is the safety and security of every employee affected by this incident, and we are doing all we can to provide assistance to impacted employees,” Lucas’ statement says.

Frontier Software has been undertaking payroll services on behalf of the South Australian government since 2001. It actually provides services to more than 1,500 public and private organisations around the world.

This article has been updated since it was first published and we will continue to make updates once we learn more.