$135 Billion Mistake By Google Could Have Been A Disaster For UniSuper

Peter Steven Ho
4 min readJun 5, 2024

In a blink of an eye, $135 billion goes missing and UniSuper is left wondering what just happened to its Google cloud infrastructure.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/brianpenny-29844978/?utmsource=link-attribution&utmmedium=referral&utmcampaign=image&utmcontent=8533106">Brian Penny</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com//?utmsource=link-attribution&utmmedium=referral&utmcampaign=image&utmcontent=8533106">Pixabay</a>
Image by Brian Penny from Pixabay

On May 2, a nightmare scenario for UniSuper became a reality when 135 billion dollars worth of retirement savings and investments vanished unexpectedly, so too the Google cloud that UniSuper depends on.

As complaints from some of UniSuper’s 647,000 members started to filter in, the IT department was already preparing to switch its operations over to a secondary cloud service. In fact, UniSuper has two geographically separate Google cloud services available to tackle problems like this, so imagine the panic in the IT department when they discovered the backup clouds are no longer there.

In short, UniSuper’s IT system has totally collapsed.

It would have been interesting to listen in on the tense phone conversations between UniSuper’s CEO Peter Chun and Google Cloud’s CEO Thomas Kurian.

At least UniSuper didn’t have to wade through Google’s help desk bureaucracy just get a response.

A joint statement by Chun and Kurian on May 8 quickly dispelled rumours that this was a cyberattack — an issue that was of deep concern for members.



Peter Steven Ho

BSc (Hons), LLB. Freelance writer in Technology, Science and Travel. Come join me on a journey of discovery.