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Hackers Strike Again, Holding Australia Medical Facility Ransom

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 10, 2012 Last Updated: December 11, 2012
Related articles: World » Asia Pacific
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(Adam Berry/Getty Images)

(Adam Berry/Getty Images)

An Australian medical clinic hit by a cyber-attack is being held ransom by hackers who have encrypted the clinic’s sensitive data.

The owners of the Miami Family Medical Center located on the Gold Coast told the Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that the hackers want $4,000 to decrypt the sensitive information that is being held on a server owned by them.

“We’ve got all the antivirus stuff in place—there’s no sign of a virus. They literally got in, hijacked the server and then ran their encryption software,” David Wood, the co-owner of the facility, told the broadcaster Monday. “It’s people who know how to break in past firewalls and hack passwords to get onto the server.”

He sent a message out to patients that none of the data was stolen.

“We’re trying to work out how to pay the hackers or find someone to decrypt the information,” he added.

Chris Gatford, a security expert with HackLabs, told the Sydney Morning Herald that paying a ransom should only be used as a last resort, but said that in this incident, there is likely little choice.

“It would cost more to have IT professionals look at it than compared to what the ransomers are after,” Gatford told the paper.

IT expert Nigel Phair told ABC that the security breach should serve as a “wake-up call” for Australian businesses.

“Cyber criminals based mainly throughout Eastern Europe look for rich targets, places with identifying information to extort,” said Phair, the head of the Center for Internet Safety.

Two weeks ago, Australian and Romanian police busted up a credit card scam that bilked companies out of more than $30 million.

And in September, Australian company TDC Refrigeration and Electrical’s financial records were hacked and held for ransom, according to SC Magazine. The company was forced to pay $3,000 to a hacker.

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