10 May 2023

Queensland Health provides Cape York residents with access to specialist cyber security information

| Samuel Davis
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NATIONAL identity theft experts have been sent to Cape York following a cyber-attack on a First Nations health service earlier this month.

Apunipima Cape York Health Council became aware its computer systems had been hacked last week leaving patient medical records and staff information vulnerable to cyber crime.

It is unclear how many patients and employees have been affected by the attack or what information may have been taken.

In a bid to determine the severity of the breach, Queensland Health has engaged identity and cyber support service IDCARE, who will visit nine remote Indigenous communities affected by the breach.

IDCARE has recently been providing support and advice across Australia to those affected by the Optus telecommunications cyber breach.

It’s expected the organisation will establish mobile pop-up clinics to provide guidance and counselling for impacted community members.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service’s (TCHHS) Beverley Hamerton said she believed Queensland Health’s firewalls had withstood the breach to Apunipima’s computer network.

“No associated breaches of Torres and Cape HHS or broader Queensland Health information systems have been identified,” Ms Hamerton said.

“However, we acknowledge the breach of Apunipima systems impacts the individuals affected and recognise they need to be supported and communicated with in a way that is clinically appropriate, compassionate, and helpful.”

As a precaution, TCHHS has severed all electronic links with Apunipima, and all staff have been advised to beware of any phishing attempts.

Backup systems have been put in place to provide alternative and secure non-digital access to patient information where access to previously shared information systems is no longer available.

The IDCARE team will visit communities on the following dates:

Pormpuraaw: 14 October morning

Coen: 14 October afternoon

Aurukun: 15 October morning

Napranum: 15 October afternoon

Mapoon: 16 October morning

Lockhart River: 17 October morning

Laura: 18 October morning

Hope Vale: 18 October afternoon

Wujal Wujal: 19 October morning

Anyone who believes they may have been impacted can also contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or ID Care on 1800 595 160.

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