The Australian Federal Police have been called in after an explosive report revealed that the Medicare information of any Australian was up for sale on the dark web.
An investigation by The Guardian reported that a dark net trader on a popular illegal trading website was offering confidential patient details on request for as little as $30 each.
The trader dubbed the service "the Medicare machine" which reportedly exploits a vulnerability in the government system. Medicare information is up for sale for 0.0089 bitcoin each, equivalent to about $28.
The report claims that about 75 records have been sold so far, which could be used to defraud the government of Medicare rebates.
Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge, the MP responsible for Medicare, attempted to downplay the alleged breach, but said that the matter had been referred to the AFP.
"I have received assurance that the information obtained by the journalist was not sufficient to access any personal health record," Tudge said.
"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."
Tudge said he couldn't comment on specifics, but said that the matter was being taken extremely seriously.
"The government has an ongoing commitment to prioritise cyber security and is constantly working to further improve our capability."