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CYBER ATTACKS: Toyota Australia, Melbourne heart clinic hacked

Toyota Australia and the Melbourne Heart Group have been two Australian organisations recently targeted by cyber attacks. (Photos: Getty, Melbourne Heart Group)

Toyota Australia admitted today that it had fallen victim to an attempted cyber attack attempt.

Toyota’s systems appear to be down, with the car manufacturer saying in a statement that the IT department is working with international cyber security experts to get systems back up and running.

However, the details around the attack are mysterious: Toyota currently has “no further details about the origin of the attack”.

“At this stage, we believe no private employee or customer data has been accessed,” the company stated.

The news comes after reports that hackers had broken into the medical files of a specialist heart clinic at Melbourne’s Cabrini Hospital and demanded a ransom after scrambling the data of about 15,000 patients.

Heart clinic patient files locked

Melbourne Heart Group, a tenant at the Cabrini Hospital site in Malvern, has been unable to access its files for weeks after a cybercrime syndicate used malware to cripple its server and demand a cryptocurrency payment to decrypt the data.

A payment was made, but some of the scrambled files – which included patient details and sensitive medical records – have not been recovered, according to The Age.

The malware is believed to have originated from Russia or North Korea, but the identities of the criminals haven’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).

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.

Cabrini Hospital hasn’t been affected by the hacking as it operates independently from the MHG.

“It doesn’t have any link to Cabrini in any way, they’re just a tenant of ours,” a Cabrini Hospital spokeswoman said.

Victorian minister for health Jenny Mikakos said no public hospitals are affected by this data breach.

Mikakos said the government works closely with federal agencies to ensure all its public sector agencies, including hospitals, are protected from such attacks.

“We’ve made significant investment over the past two years to upgrade our cyber security capability in our public hospital system,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“It’s my expectation all private hospitals will put the systems in place to ensure patient privacy can be safeguarded.”

Mikakos said it was up to the federal government to reassure Australians their information is safe on the federal My Health Record system.

Parliament hacked earlier this month

The cyber attacks come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that Australia’s major political parties were targeted in a hack of the federal parliament’s computer network earlier this month.

There were no signs of electoral interference, Morrison said.

The hack was carried out by a “sophisticated state actor”, and while no country has been explicitly identified as responsible for the attack, China has come under heavier criticism recently from a bloc of western nations for intellectual property theft.

–with AAP

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