Media Release: Statement regarding claim that Medicare card details are for sale

4 July 2017

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

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. 

These claims have also been referred to the Australian Federal Police. 

The Guardian claims that one of its own journalists bought his own Medicare card details from the dark web.

I have received assurance that the information obtained by the journalist was not sufficient to access any personal health record. The only information claimed to be supplied by the site was the Medicare card number. The journalist was asked to provide his own name and date of birth in order to obtain the Medicare card number.

Any apparent unauthorised access to Medicare card numbers is nevertheless of great concern.

I cannot comment on cyber operations, however, I confirm that investigations into activities on the dark web occur continually. The security of personal data is an extremely serious matter. Thorough investigations are conducted whenever claims such as this are made.

The Department of Human Services receives ongoing advice and assurance regarding its cyber security capabilities from the Australian Signals Directorate, the nation's top cyber security agency.

The Government has an ongoing commitment to prioritise cyber security and is constantly working to further improve our capability.