A Florida healthcare center is the target of a cyber-attack, findings its patient records held hostage for a $4,000 ransom demanded by criminal hackers.
Russian cyber criminals are demanding the ransom in return for decrypting the patient record database, which the targeted Gold Coast clinic says wasn’t stolen, according to ABC News.
Technology professionals are attempting to recover the server, which has been taken offline amid the investigation, but some are warning that the records may be all but lost.
"At this point, most probably, their only option is to pay," technology expert Nigel Phair told ABC News. "Though that’s not the best option because as we know from extortion that once you pay they’ll follow that up."
The $4,000-mark represents a reachable figure, a common strategy among criminal hackers, Phair added. Once that amount is paid the attackers may only decode a small portion of the database or ask for additional payments.
Gold Coast healthcare providers said they thought they’d taken measures to protect their digital information.
"We’ve got all the anti virus stuff in place – there’s no sign of a virus," Miami Family Medical Centre co-owner David Wood told reporters. " They literally got in, hijacked the server and then ran their encryption software."
Healthcare providers are increasingly targets of cyber criminals who hope to pick up sensitive information that can be held hostage.