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Australia’s myGov digital ID lost $2B due to scams this year

Australia’s myGov digital ID lost $2B due to scams this year

The number of scams targeting Australia’s MyGov digital identity scheme has “increased dramatically,” with losses reaching AU$3.1 billion (US$2 billion) so far this year, according to the country’s government.

Thousands of myGov accounts are being suspended over fears that they have been compromised by so-called “scam-in-a-box” kits sold on the dark web, Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said on Monday. The technology is used to create fake websites and help criminals launch phishing attacks on Centrelink, Australian Tax Office and Medicare accounts, The Guardian reports.

“In 2023, there has already been more than 4500 new individual myGov scams,” says Shorten. “These fake sites and criminal gimmicks like ‘scams-in-a-box’ trick our citizens into giving criminals their user ID and passwords.”

MyGov is the main digital government platform used by Australians. Scammers have been sending texts and emails to people telling them they are eligible for a tax refund or that they need to confirm their bank accounts, directing them to fake websites.

Scammers are attracted to this type of scam because people reuse passwords at least 50 percent of the time, allowing them to reuse the stolen password to access other online services, according to Shorten.

“The problem with these hacks, and the proliferation of phishing scams we now see, is that increasing amounts of stolen, identifying details end up on the dark web,” he says.

The government is currently finalizing improvements to ID verification to protect against MyGov cyberattacks, Shorten added.

The country is also discussing a bill designed to regulate identity verification services. While the government of Anthony Albanese has been pushing for a quick deal on the legislation, political opponents have been pointing out that Australia’s identity verification services may have been conducted illegally. Currently, there is no legal framework to govern the link between state ID systems and third-party firms conducting ID checks.

Australia is planning to integrate its multiple digital ID schemes, including MyGov, into an interoperable system with its new national digital identity expected to be in place by mid-2024. The launch of the federally-backed ID scheme has opened questions about the future of systems such as MyGov.


Australia to introduce biometric passkeys for myGov login

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