Let’s talk about déjà vu. But not the cool, mysterious kind—more like the ‘Oh no, not this again’ kind. In the early hours of a Wednesday morning, specifically November 8, 2023, Optus gave us a not-so-gentle reminder that history loves to repeat itself. The entire Optus network crashed—mobile, internet, landline, you name it. If it had the Optus logo, it was about as helpful as a screendoor on a submarine.
While the company swears this isn’t a cyber-attack, you’d forgive us for being sceptical. I mean, after last year’s cyber fiasco, it’s not unreasonable to imagine Optus execs are sweating bullets over the possibility that their network has been compromised once more. The lack of clarity from their end doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Heck, even Optus’s CEO had to resort to WhatsApp to communicate when she phoned into a radio station. The message? They’re “still working to determine the cause.” How reassuring.
Optus’s communication game is as strong as a wet paper bag. After the security breach that rocked their world last year, you’d expect them to have learned a thing or two about keeping their customers in the loop. Instead, we’re left playing a guessing game while they scramble behind the scenes, leaving us to wonder if our data is taking a walk on the wild side again.
Customers are in the dark, and it’s not the soothing kind. It’s the “I have a business to run and no internet” kind of dark. Even high-ranking government officials are left twiddling their thumbs, waiting for an explanation that seems as elusive as a unicorn at this point.
The silence from Optus is deafening. A short statement at the crack of dawn did nothing to appease the masses or the market. Telstra’s shares practically do a victory dance, while SingTel’s plummet faster than my patience.
Moving towards a cashless society? That’s a laugh. How can we trust a future where our digital lifelines are as stable as a house of cards? Businesses can’t make sales, and customers can’t make purchases when EFTPOS terminals are about as operational as a vintage typewriter.
This comes as banks begin to close their branches, and the crackdown on cash continues, accelerated by the pandemic. Australia is not up to the task of a cashless society if this is any indication.
I stuck with Optus after the data breach, but now? I’m feeling the sting of betrayal. We’ve been let down by a company that seems to have gambled on IT infrastructure, outsourcing critical elements to the lowest bidder and hoping for the best.
So here’s the deal, Optus: wake up to yourself. Own your mistakes, tighten your security, invest in your infrastructure, and, for heaven’s sake, talk to us. We’re not just your customers; we’re the people who depend on you to keep our digital lives afloat.