It follow revelations a Guardian Australia journalist was able to buy their own Medicare details for $28.70, from a darknet trader who is illegally selling the information by “exploiting a vulnerability” in a government system.
“Purchase this listing and leave the first and last name, and DOB of any Australian citizen, and you will receive their Medicare patient details in full,” the vendor’s listing reportedly said.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said he’d been advised it was unlikely not the result of a cyber security breach. “The advice I have received from the chief information officer in my department is that there has not been a cyber security breach of our systems as such, but rather it is more likely to have been a traditional criminal activity.
“Claims made in the Guardian newspaper that Medicare card numbers are able to be purchased on the dark web are being taken seriously by the Government and are under investigation.
“The security of personal data is an extremely serious matter. Thorough investigations are conducted whenever claims such as this are made. The Government has an ongoing commitment to prioritise cyber security and is constantly working to further improve our capability”.
Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said she was “extremely concerned” about the alleged privacy breach and demanded the Government reveal when it first became aware of it and how many people had been affected. “This is a very, very serious privacy breach,” she added.
More updates as the story unfolds.