• Cabrini Hospital in Malvern, Australia was the main target of the cyber attack.
  • The attackers have demanded a ransom in cryptocurrency to unlock the encrypted files.

In the latest news, a cybercriminal group broke into a computer network that belonged to an Australian hospital and encrypted around 15,000 medical files. Cabrini Hospital, located in Malvern, Australia, was the victim of a ransomware attack.

Melbourne Heart Group, which is based at the hospital, reported that it was not able to access patient files for three weeks, which led to the discovery of the attack. The attackers demanded a ransom to be paid in cryptocurrency in order to decrypt the files.

Potential foreign hackers

The malware used in the attack is alleged to be created by a North Korean or a Russian hacker group. However, it is yet to be ascertained. The Australian Cyber Security Centre, which oversees cybersecurity matters in Australia, and the Federal Police, are looking further into the security incident.

Cabrini Hospital told affected patients that their files had been lost but did not inform them of the breach. In fact, when some patients turned up for consultation, their records were missing from the database. The Age, which covered the incident, reported that despite the ransom payment being made, many files were still encrypted.

“The protection of personal patient information is of the utmost importance...patient privacy has not been compromised in this instance,” a Melbourne Heart Group spokeswoman told The Age. She pointed out that the encrypted files were not linked to cardiac device information of the hospital patients.

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