AU: Medical center receives ransom demand to unlock patient files

Stephanie Bedo reports on that a medical center’s worst nightmare has occurred. From Goldcoast:

A Gold Coast medical centre is being held to ransom by an international computer hacker who wants $4000 to unlock thousands of patient files.

The Miami Family Medical Centre has been without the patient files for more than a week after its computer system was hacked and all the patient files encrypted with a military-grade encryption program.

It gets worse, but what struck me is that they’ve had similar situations in that area in this past year:

It is the latest in a string of 11 similar medical extortion cases that have taken place across the state this year.

I’m not finding any other such stories on their site or in a Google search. I’d love to know more about these other cases.

And here’s how a bad situation becomes worse:

Dr Munira Butt said the system was hit over a weekend, with the hackers then sending emails from an untraceable overseas account demanding $4000 if the business wanted to get the records back.

“They’ve corrupted all our back-up discs too,” Dr Butt said.

“They have hacked us really well because they’ve been in and disabled quite a number of programs.

“That’s seven years worth of data missing or gone.”

Without the clinical files, doctors are effectively blind when treating patients as they have no access to patient history, known allergies, blood test results, blood pressure readings or even cancer results.

So what the heck are the police doing to help? Nothing, reportedly:

She has refused to give in but has had no success getting help from police so far.

Dr Butt said she spent all of last week contacting cybercrime squads within the Australian Federal Police and has left several messages but no one has responded to her or investigated the case.

An AFP spokeswoman said the scam was an issue for the police.

“I’ve contacted all the e-crime squads and no one’s getting back to me,” Dr Butt said.


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