An anonymous bad actor tried hacking into My Health Record, a parliamentary committee heard this week.
Speaking at the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit public hearing into cyber resilience on Tuesday, the CIO of Australia’s Digital Health Agency (ADHA), Ronan O’Connor, said the agency discovered a “potential compromise” of My Health Record’s IT infrastructure this year.
“That meant somebody tried to hack our system—the external perimeter of our system,” O’Connor said after being asked repeatedly to clarify.
“I want to assure the committee that there was no access into the My Health Record in any way whatsoever. No health information or personal sensitive information was accessed.”
The Digital Health Agency notified the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and “worked with” the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) – presumably to fix the vulnerability.
Everyone was therefore “happy with the outcome” and decided not to investigate further, according to O’Connor.
Labor MP, Julian Hill, wanted attribution for the attack.
“Is there any conclusion or evidence as to who tried to hack it?” Hill asked. “Was it a teenage kid sitting at home? Was it a state-sponsored actor?”
But despite working “very closely” with the ACSC, O’Connor said they simply “don't know the actor” who tried to break into the $2 billion My Health Record system.
O’Connor also told the committee of another potential breach of My Health Record, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
My Health Record use grows
More than 22 million Australians have their medical data stored on My Health Record, according to the ADHA’s latest annual report.
Acting CEO of the ADHA, Bettina McMahon, defended the My Health Record against claims that it is “clunky and hard to use”, saying clinical use of the data has picked up significantly in the past three months.
“In relation to general practitioners, the month of March has seen the highest amount of viewing of documents yet, as well as uploads to track use,” McMahon told the Public Accounts committee.
“Around 20,000 documents are viewed each month. That's a threefold increase since the same period last year.”
McMahon said there has been a recent spike in the number of everyday Australians reading their own My Health Records.
“The most popular documents over the last month have actually been pathology test results that consumers are looking at,” the acting ADHA chief said, adding that 95 per cent of public pathology labs are now uploading data to My Health Record.
More than one million Australians have been tested for COVID-19 since January.