Industry News

Ransomware Hits Medical Center, Encrypts Patient Files

A couple of Russian hackers have taken medical records of Australia-based Miami Family Medical Centre ransom, demanding $4,000 to release the data. According to ABC News, the hackers managed to compromise the medical clinic despite security measures to safeguard patient data.

Clinic co-founder David Wood says patient data has not been stolen. Instead of stealing it, the attackers breached the server and encrypted the files stored on it.

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,” said Wood.

Ransomware is becoming the new trend in cybercrime, judging by the number of security incidents identified in the past six months. If the first breeds of ransomware using encryption relied on easy-to-crack algorithms, this highly-lucrative business is now almost entirely relying on military-grade encryption to block victims’ access to their data.

The only viable option for the center to get its data back may be to pay the ransom, even though an IT contractor is trying to rescue some patient files from backup.

“At this point, most probably, their only option is to pay,” said IT security expert Nigel Phair. “Though that’s not the best option because as we know from extortion that once you pay they’ll follow that up […] saying they want another payment or partially decrypt some of the information.

About the author


Bogdan Botezatu is living his second childhood at Bitdefender as senior e-threat analyst. When he is not documenting sophisticated strains of malware or writing removal tools, he teaches extreme sports such as surfing the web without protection or rodeo with wild Trojan horses. He believes that most things in life can be beat with strong heuristics and that antimalware research is like working for a secret agency: you need to stay focused at all times, but you get all the glory when you catch the bad guys.