MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s second-largest telecommunications company Optus, owned by Singapore Telecommunications, published a full-page apology in major newspapers on Saturday for a “devastating” cyberattack 10 days ago and a directed affected customers to a new help site.

“We are deeply sorry that a cyberattack occurred on our watch,” the company said in the notice.

“We know this is devastating and we will have to work hard to earn back your trust,” he said.

The new page on the company’s website offered assistance for customers whose data had been hacked, including how to replace driver’s license, passport and healthcare card numbers.

The company has agreed to pay the cost of replacing compromised customers’ passports, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday.

“We will be in contact with customers whose passport number has been exposed,” Optus said on its website.

Australian police said on Friday they had set up an operation to strengthen the protection of more than 10,000 Optus customers whose credentials had been shared online as a result of the data breach.

Authorities declined to comment on their investigation and efforts to find the hacker since the telecoms giant reported on September 22 that the data of up to 10 million accounts, or 40% of Australia’s population, had been stolen. (This story corrects spelling of “Australia” in title)

(Report by Sonali Paul)

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