The Guardian reports that a data breach at Australia’s Medicare, the country’s public health care system, has compromised personal medical information. A “reputable” trader on the darknet, an unreferenced, parallel Internet where illegal purchases may be made, is offering Medicare card details for about US$22 per card.
The data can be used to produce fake cards, which are then employed for identity theft. Such cards already have been involved in the purchase of property and cars, and could be used to defraud the government by claiming bogus rebates. The trader has sold the data of at least 75 persons since last October, and may have sold much more prior to that.
The anonymous vendor claims to be “exploiting a vulnerability,” perhaps in the Department of Human Services, which manages Medicare, or in another organization with access to the data. Government agencies are reportedly trying to trace the source of the leaks. These events underscore the importance of data protection, as well as their monetary value.