It’s difficult to see an easy way out of this current situation for Optus, they’ve suffered a massive Cyber Attack, one which some believe may have not even been overly sophisticated, but with many millions of customers affected, the costs to recover for Optus could be in the billions of dollars.

Now, there’s no lawyer who will put a number on it – trust me, I’ve asked a few.

But today, after EFTM contacted them to ask that question, one firm Slater & Gordon did release a statement saying they were exploring a Class Action and are now calling on people to register for that.

Senior Associate Ben Zocco said the impact on those affected was huge “This is potentially the most serious privacy breach in Australian history, both in terms of the number of affected people and the nature of the information disclosed,” Mr Zocco said.

“Given the type of information that has been reportedly disclosed, these people can’t simply heed Optus’ advice to be on the look-out for scam emails and text messages. Very real risks are created by the disclosure of their personally identifiable information, such as addresses and phone numbers.

“We are continuing to explore potential legal avenues for affected customers.  In the meantime, we encourage anybody who may have been affected by the data breach to register their interest in Slater and Gordon’s investigation on our website, and to otherwise remain vigilant and look out for suspicious account activity or contact by email, SMS and phone.

In terms of the possible cost to Optus should such an action proceed, EFTM estimates that number to be in the billions.

The Federal Government paid $70,000,000 to 1905 Asylum seekers when their identities were published online, while Optus themselves were targeted for a $40,000,000 claim over 50,000 customers phone numbers being published without consent in the White Pages.

Given the extent of the data exposed here, and the scale of it, even if the number is as low as 2.8 million people, that could easily be a $1.4 BILLION law suit, and if the alleged hacker is correct and the actual number of users with ID records is over 4 million, and the exposure is seen to be on a higher scale, that’s easily $4 BILLION or more.

Bottom line, there is no guiding rule to these calculations, but if your identity is stolen, the cost to recover will be in the thousands. The cost to prevent that is easily $120 per year – and just how long should you subscribe to that kind of service when your identity documents are in the hands of scammers? Surely it’s years?

So, while Optus’ offer of an Equifax subscription is a generous first step, they’re going to need to do a lot more to hold back the tide that will be a class action if the chances look strong.