Hackers encrypt medical center's database for ransom

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Hackers have demanded a ransom of $4,000 after breaking into the server of an Australian medical center and encrypting thousands of patient health records. The server in question belonged to the Miami Family Medical Centre, and the cybercriminals were allegedly Russian.

Speaking to ABC News, center co-owner David Wood was reported as saying, "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."

"It's people who know how to break in past firewalls and hack passwords to get onto the server," says Wood. He claimed that patient data has not been stolen. For now, the medical center has taken the encrypted information offline while working with an IT contractor to restore a backup of patient records.

The medical center continues to operate, though Wood admits that it is "very, very, very difficult" given the inability to access patience records at the moment.

The approach adopted here is similar to certain variants of ransomware that encrypted users' data in order to demand a fee for the decryption key. Hacking a business directly though allows the criminals to ask for a much higher price by targeting business-critical data--though they are known to keep the price at a level where most businesses will just pay up rather than go to the police.

For more:
- check out this article at ABC News

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