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Hackers hold Australian medical records to ransom

Hackers are holding an Australian medical centre to ransom, encrypting thousands of medical records and demanding payment of $4000 for the files to be decrypted.

ABC News reports that Miami Family Medical Centre on the Gold Coast has become the latest victim to be held to ransom by hackers.

Hacked ... Miami Family Medical Centre on the Gold Coast
Hacked ... Miami Family Medical Centre on the Gold Coast Photo: Google

It follows TDC Refrigeration and Electrical, a Northern Territory business, having its financial records held to ransom in September.

Everyday Australians are also being held to ransom by hackers demanding payment in return for their PCs being unlocked.

David Wood, Miami Family Medical Centre's co-owner, told ABC News he thought his centre had a good IT system in place.

"We've got all the anti-virus stuff in place - there's no sign of a virus. They literally got in, hijacked the server and then ran their encryption software," he said.

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He said patients could be reassured that no data had been stolen as a result of the hack and added that the server targeted had been taken offline while the centre decided what to do.

The centre, in conjunction with an IT contractor, was now deciding whether it should pay the ransom, find a way to decrypt the data or restore records from a back-up.

Wood was expected to hold a press conference at 2pm AEDST about the incident.

Chris Gatford, a security expert at HackLabs, said whilst paying a ransom should never be performed there could be little choice in this situation.

"It would cost more to have IT professionals look at it then compared to what the ransomers are after," Gatford said.

He added that firms dealing with patient's medical records "should absolutely not" be storing them on internet-connected systems.

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