10 May 2023

Apunipima patients still in the dark over cyber breach

| Matt Nicholls
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INDIGENOUS patients across Cape York say they have been left in the dark after a major security breach at their health provider.

It’s been more than a month since Apunipima Cape York Health Council provided an update to the ransomware attack on its computer system, which has hamstrung the organisation.

The healthcare provider, which receives half of its annual funding from the federal government, has refused to provide an interview to media outlets, including Cape York Weekly.

When pressed last week, an Apunipima spokesman said: “I don’t have to talk to you.”

The Aboriginal-led service was subjected to a ransomware attack on October 3 when a staff member inadvertently clicked on a link in an email.

Apunipima’s security was not able to stop an infection, which brought down the entire system.

Sources told Cape York Weekly that Apunipima did not regularly back up its system and lost at least a fortnight of work in the process.

Since then, staff have largely been relying on paper files.

Apunipima’s last public statement was made on October 12.

“Apunipima acknowledges the concerns of the community at present and is working around the clock to complete its investigation as soon as possible,” it said at the time.

Apunipima also listed a phone number for concerned patients to call, however the phone line rings out when called.

The health body insists there is no evidence patient records have been accessed, however Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service has instructed its staff to treat the hack as if patient data was stolen.

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