Google Cloud Accidentally Deletes $125 Billion Australian Pension Fund

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Over half a million UniSuper members failed to access their accounts after Google Cloud accidentally deleted the private cloud account of the Australian pension fund worth $125 billion.

The week-long outage resulted in widespread frustration and concern. Although service restoration commenced on Thursday, it may take some time for investment balances to reflect accurate figures.

UniSuper, a major player in Australia’s superannuation sector, caters to retirement savings needs for employees in higher education and research fields.

The outage, impacting university, college, and research institution staff, originated from a unique misconfiguration on Google Cloud.

UniSuper CEO, Peter Chun, told members via an email that the incident was neither a cyberattack nor a data breach, but rather a Google Cloud configuration error.

What led to the outage?

It occurred due to the deletion of UniSuper’s subscription, which included its geographical redundancies meant to safeguard against outages and data loss.

UniSuper had backups with an alternative service provider. In 2023, the company transitioned a significant portion of its operations to Google Cloud Platform, after it divided workloads between Azure and internal data centres.

Such disruptions are of major concern to many who rely on technology to secure their data. The severity of the situation prompted UniSuper and Google executives to reach out to the affected members to allay their concerns.

In a joint statement, UniSuper CEO Peter Chun and Google Cloud global CEO Thomas Kurian expressed deep regret over the incident, reassuring members that no personal data was compromised.


“The outage is extremely frustrating and disappointing,” they said. They reassured members that no personal data was compromised and attributed the disruption to a “glitch in Google’s cloud service,” the statement said.

“UniSuper had backups in place with an additional service provider. These backups have minimised data loss, and significantly improved the ability of UniSuper and Google Cloud to complete the restoration,” it said.


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