An Emerging Information Security Threat

1283 Words Oct 13th, 2014 6 Pages
An emerging information security threat is the use of “Ransomware” by hackers. A recent example occurred in 2012 when Russian hackers held the Miami Family Medical Centre in Queensland to ransom after accessing their server remotely and running encryption software on it, encrypting thousands of patient health records. The hackers encrypted the whole SQL database, about 6500 files, by going through and searching for every doc, xls, txt, pdf, mdb, mdf i.e. all of the standard data files. The hackers accessed the data through a Remote Desk Protocol (RDP) port that was open and part of the standard Windows 2003 Small Business Server Premium package. The hackers cracked the user and password restricted access. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-10/hackers-target-gold-coast-medical-centre/4418676 Accessed on 7 October2014)
The owners could no longer access their own patient records and the hackers demanded a ransom of $4,000 to decrypt the sensitive information. The impact on the medical practice was that they could not run the practice effectively without medical records. Patient safety was at risk because vital medical information about a patient’s history such as allergies, medications and test results could not be accessed.
The owners were left trying to work out how to pay the hackers or find someone to decrypt the information. An IT expert, Jason Fillmore, from Essential IT Services was hired to fix the problem. He said the prospects were grim because the hackers used very…
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