Australian Health Insurer Could Face $21 Trillion Fine Over Data Breach

Giulio Saggin
Giulio Saggin
Wednesday 5 June 2024
Australian Health Insurer Could Face $21 Trillion Fine Over Data Breach

A fine of up to $21 trillion (AUD) could await Australian health insurer Medibank over a 2022 data breach.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is suing Medibank over the breach, which saw the personal information of 9.7 million Australians made available on the dark web after the hack in October, 2022.

That information included names, dates of birth, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, Medicare numbers, and even the passport numbers for some international student customers. The hackers also targeted sensitive information, including that about four people who had undergone pregnancy terminations.

The OAIC has now alleged that Medibank failed to take reasonable steps to protect the personal information from misuse and unauthorised access or disclosure.

"The release of personal information on the dark web exposed a large number of Australians to the likelihood of serious harm, including potential emotional distress and the material risk of identity theft, extortion and financial crime," Acting Australian Information Commissioner Elizabeth Tydd said in a statement released on June 5, 2024. "We consider Medibank's conduct resulted in a serious interference with the privacy of a very large number of individuals."

Privacy Commissioner Carly Kind also stated that: “This case should serve as a wakeup call to Australian organisations to invest in their digital defences to meet the challenges of an evolving cyber landscape. Organisations have an ethical as well as legal duty to protect the personal information they are entrusted with and a responsibility to keep it safe.”

The Australian Federal Court will determine the final amount of the fine, but $2.2 million could be imposed for each each contravention.

Medibank has said that it intends to defend the proceedings.

Never miss a vulnerability like this again

Sign up to SecAlerts for real-time vulnerability data matched to your software, aggregated from hundreds of sources.


SecAlerts Pty Ltd.
132 Wickham Terrace
Fortitude Valley,
QLD 4006, Australia
By using SecAlerts services, you agree to our services end-user license agreement. This website is safeguarded by reCAPTCHA and governed by the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. All names, logos, and brands of products are owned by their respective owners, and any usage of these names, logos, and brands for identification purposes only does not imply endorsement. If you possess any content that requires removal, please get in touch with us.
© 2024 SecAlerts Pty Ltd.
ABN: 70 645 966 203, ACN: 645 966 203