Hackers have hijacked the medical files of a heart clinic at Melbourne’s Cabrini Hospital, demanding a ransom to unscramble the data of around 15,000 patients.
News of the hacking, first reported Thursday in The Age newspaper, comes as carmaker Toyota Australia revealed it was the victim of an attempted cyber attack, but believed no employee or customer data was taken.
The clinic has been unable to access the affected patient files for weeks after a cybercrime syndicate used malware to cripple its server and demanded a cryptocurrency payment to decrypt the data, The Age reported.
The malware is believed to have originated from Russia or North Korea but the identity of the criminals hasn’t been revealed, and Australian security agencies are investigating.
An Australian Cyber Security Centre spokeswoman said it was recently alerted to a cyber security incident by the Melbourne Heart Group (MHG), a tenant at the Cabrini Hospital site in Malvern.
The centre has provided cyber security advice and assistance to MHG, and as the matter is ongoing it said it is inappropriate to comment further.
A Cabrini Hospital spokeswoman said it was unaffected by the hacking as it operated independently.
“It doesn’t have any link to Cabrini in any way, they’re just a tenant of ours,” she said.
Toyota on Thursday said it has no details about the origin of its cyber attack and the threat was being managed by its IT department.
“Toyota Australia can confirm it has been the victim of an attempted cyber attack,” a company spokesman said in a statement.
“At this stage, we believe no private employee or customer data has been accessed.”
The spokesman said the company is working with international cyber security experts to get its systems up and running again as soon as possible.
“We apologise for an inconvenience caused and thank customers for their patience.”