Jul 5, 2017

How a criminal on the ‘dark web’ likely got hold of your Medicare number

Medicare breach wasn't a cyber attack but "traditional criminal activity", according to Human Services Minister Alan Tudge.

Josh Taylor — Journalist

Josh Taylor


Alan Tudge Centrelink scandal

The source for Medicare data available for sale on the so-called "dark web" is unlikely to be from a hack of Medicare's databases, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has claimed. But that doesn't make it any less concerning.

Guardian Australia journalist Paul Farrell yesterday revealed he had been able to buy his own Medicare card number on an online sales site on the "dark web" -- part of the internet only accessible via a special browser where illegal drugs, guns and other illicit goods are up for sale -- for less than $30.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

6 thoughts on “How a criminal on the ‘dark web’ likely got hold of your Medicare number

  1. Danoze

    Good reporting. Putting it in appropriate context that this is not a significant issue at all. If many of our 80,000 healthcare workers can access our medicare card details then it’s hardly compromising to our privacy if someone ‘dark’ can then on-sell that.
    The hysteria from some commentators on this pretty benign matter has been ridiculous.

  2. klewso

    Re form – “Leaky” Tudge was also “(the Minister) responsible” for Centrelink debt notices – and the use of departmental information for the slagging of Andie Fox?

  3. Manny

    A few years ago, the day after my partner went into St George Private Hospital in Sydney someone set up an online Medibank Private log in for them, using their date of birth etc, and then put through a number of bogus claims for everyone in our family. Fortunately, Medibank Private realised there was something wrong quite quickly. However it took weeks and weeks to get new Medibank Private numbers sorted out and I think they never really carried over our existing membership rights to the new numbers. I tried to report to the police who were totally uninterested. I made a report anyway. Nobody wanted to find out how it had happened, they just wanted to paper it over. Moral of the story – set up your own online account for every possible activity and it is then less likely someone else will be able to steal that account…

  4. Vernon

    After 25 years in Australia the wife recently decided to apply for Australian citizenship. . Despite her providing 25 years of tax returns, proof of having children born here, passport evidence and all manner of ID, the Immigration still wanted her Medicare details as final proof she was worthy of being accepted.
    I wonder what the other medicare details sold on the dark net have been used for?

  5. Stuart Coyle

    See Brandis has his wish for a backdoor already! I’m sure the government is working full time to create more back doors for the ‘good guys’.

  6. AR

    A very warm & comforting phrase, “traditional criminal activity”, makes one feel all warm & fuzzy, unlike the scary cyber monster.
    Is that like the distinction between white collar crime and real badness?

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details