Site selling Medicare data goes dark(er)

Marketplace site goes offline

The ‘darknet’ market that hosted the ‘Medicare Machine’ service has gone offline — although it’s unclear whether it will stay that way.

The Guardian’s Paul Farrell reported yesterday that he had been able to purchase his own Medicare number from the site.

The Medicare Machine service boasts it can reveal the Medicare card number of any Australian when provided with his or her name and date of birth.

(The information required to use the service is the same required by the HPOS service, giving rise to speculation that HPOS is the ultimate source of the Medicare data.)

The service charges around $30 per Medicare number.

The government has referred the Medicare Machine to the Australian Federal Police.

The same vendor on the site also claims to offer email credentials for customers of major Australian ISPs as well as credit card numbers linked to Australian businesses.

The eBay-style online marketplace, whose location is obscured using Tor, also hosts vendors that claim to offer a range of Australian PayPal login details and account usernames and passwords for online Australian banking services, including CBA and ANZ.

DarkNet Stats — a service monitoring the uptime of darknet sites — reports that the site has been offline since at least 3pm AEST.

Speculation about the reason for the site going down on a forum dedicated to it has ranged from technical glitch to law enforcement action or a so-called ‘exit scam’ — whereby darknet market operators shut up shop, taking with them as much of the cryptocurrency belonging to their users as they can.

An additional possibility that has been raised is that the site administrators have taken it down to enhance its functionality: Previously, the operators had indicated they would accept the Zcash cryptocurrency beginning 1 July 2017.

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