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What You Need to Know About the Medibank Cyber Attack

Update as of 1 December 2022: Medibank has confirmed that more stolen customer data has been released on the dark web. Certain reports are suggesting that the hackers have released all files remaining in their possession.

In recent days, you’ve likely seen that Medibank, one of Australia’s biggest health insurance providers, experienced a severe cyber attack and data breach. While details about the incident are still emerging, it was revealed on 26 October 2022 that those responsible for the attack had access to at least 4 million customers’ data.

Medibank is an OSHC provider that thousands of international students are insured with, meaning the data breach is especially concerning for certain members of the community – and you may be one of them. 

Whether you’re trying to make sense of the situation or you’re wondering what to do next, here’s everything you need to know. 

What data has been compromised?

Medibank has confirmed that the hacker(s) was able to access the following details of all customers:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Email address
  • Medicare card number (in some cases)
  • Health claims made with Medibank

However, as the investigation is still ongoing, it’s unclear how much of this data was actually stolen (as opposed to just seen).

How is the cyber attack affecting international students in Australia? 

As we mentioned, the cyber attack is particularly concerning for international students in Australia who are insured by Medibank. This is largely because international students are often the target of online scams, from rental scams to tuition fee scams to virtual kidnapping scams.

Additionally, depending on several factors, data leaks could be far more detrimental to international students than Australian residents and citizens. 

Speaking to ABC News, international student Nayonika Bhattacharya uses the example of queer students who may be seeking medical services.

“If you’re a queer student, if you’re seeking certain medical support, surgery or procedures, and if you come from countries where it’s not supportive, essentially it compromises your life safety,” she said.

I’m a Medibank customer – should I be worried?

Given the uncertainty of the situation, it’s completely understandable that you may be feeling stressed and worried. However, at this stage, there’s no cause to panic. Medibank is assessing the situation closely and will be providing support packages to those affected. Certain measures of these packages include financial assistance for those in uniquely vulnerable positions and access to Medibank’s health and wellbeing support line. 

The Australian Federal Police and federal government agencies are also currently investigating the cyber attack.

How can I protect myself?

For your protection and peace of mind, here are a few simple measures you may want to consider:

  • Using two-factor authentication (2FA) – This means that, in addition to your login details (like username and password), you’ll have an extra sign-in step. Examples could include having a verification code texted to you or answering a security question. This adds an extra layer of security and makes it harder for hackers to target you.
  • Using strong and unique passwords – Your passwords should be hard to guess, so avoid using anything related to your personal information (such as your name, surname, birth date, etc.). Ideally, you should also use different passwords for different platforms, rather than reusing the same one over and over.
  • If something looks suspicious, don’t click it – If you receive an email from an unknown address or a text with an odd link in it, avoid it. These messages could be part of phishing scams, which can be dangerous.

Learn more about staying safe online via our online guide and Scamwatch.

Think you may have been hacked? Take the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s “Have you been hacked?” quiz.