A report by United Kingdom-based newspaper, The Guardian recently revealed that a trader on the dark net is selling the details of any Australian's Medicare information that is requested, thanks to a "vulnerability" in the government system. The Australian government has been unaware of this vulnerability until The Guardian published their findings.
The seller is referred to as "the Medicare machine" and is selling Medicare details for $22. The buyer just needs to provide the first and last name and date of birth of any person whose information they are looking for, and the seller will deliver the patient's details, including their Medicare number and the expiration date of their card.
Having someone's Medicare details may be enough to allow them to impersonate the person to any other service that allows a Medicare card as proof of a person's identity. Some government ID numbers can even be obtained with just a Medicare card, such as the Unique Student Identifier.
In a statement released after the article came out, Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the government is taking the breach “very seriously”, but he has “received assurance that the information obtained by the journalist was not sufficient to access any personal health record."
The source of the breach has yet to be identified.
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