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Australian Privacy Commissioner Report Highlights Medibank Security Failings

A lack of MFA meant attackers had an easy way in.

A 2022 attack on health insurance provider Medibank was likely caused by a lack of multi-factor authentication.

In the data breach, the personal information of 9.7m Australians was stolen from the country's largest health insurer, which included current and former customers, and  sensitive information about their illnesses, disabilities or injuries was leaked.

A report released this week by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) said the attack was likely caused because the company neglected basic cybersecurity measures, including requiring its workers to use multi-factor authentication to log onto its VPN.

The commissioner’s report determined that attack was traced to an IT service desk operator for a contractor, whose credentials were synced to his home computer, which hackers infected with information-stealing malware, obtaining access to all the saved passwords in his browser, including those that provided access to Medibank admin accounts.

This allowed the threat actor to authenticate and login to Medibank’s Global Protect VPN using only the Medibank credentials, the company did not require two or more proofs of identity or multi-factor authentication.

Instead, Medibank’s Global Protect VPN was configured so that only a device certificate or a username and password were required to access it.

Dan Raywood Senior Editor SC Media UK

Dan Raywood is a seasoned B2B journalist with over 20 years of experience, specializing in cybersecurity for the past 15 years. He has extensively covered topics from Advanced Persistent Threats and nation-state hackers to major data breaches and regulatory changes. Outside work, Dan enjoys supporting Tottenham Hotspur, managing mischievous cats, and sampling craft beers.

Dan Raywood Senior Editor SC Media UK

Dan Raywood is a seasoned B2B journalist with over 20 years of experience, specializing in cybersecurity for the past 15 years. He has extensively covered topics from Advanced Persistent Threats and nation-state hackers to major data breaches and regulatory changes. Outside work, Dan enjoys supporting Tottenham Hotspur, managing mischievous cats, and sampling craft beers.

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