Hacking

Harry Perkins Institute: MEDUSA Claims Ransomware Attack

No official confirmation yet on the Australian medical institute's ransomware attack, MEDUSA sets nine-day deadline

by Krishna Murthy July 3, 2024

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The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, one of Australia’s leading medical research institutes, has reportedly suffered a cyberattack carried out by the notorious MEDUSA ransomware group. The hackers allegedly exfiltrated 4.6 TB of internal building camera recordings of the institute and demanded a ransom of $500,000.

Harry Perkins Institute Ransomware Attack Explained

The Harry Perkins Institute was established in 1998. It functions out of two hospital campuses in Perth, one at the QEII Medical Centre in Nedlands and the second at the Fiona Stanley Hospital Campus in Murdoch.

According to the institute’s website, the centre’s aim is “to unify Western Australian scientists in a collaborative research powerhouse. In the years since, we have grown to become one of the nation’s leading medical research centres, where a close-knit team of more than 250 research and trial staff work together to defeat the major diseases that impact our community – diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and rare genetic diseases.”

The MEDUSA ransomware group has set an ominous countdown of 9 days, 18 hours, 6 minutes and 35 seconds for the institute to comply with its demands, which ends on July 12. Additionally, for every day that passes without payment, the ransom amount increases by USD $10,000. MEDUSA is also willing to sell the data to anyone or delete it for a ransom of $500,000.

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Harry Perkins Institute is yet to react to the ransomware group’s claims. Without an official statement from the medical firm, it would be premature to conclude whether the ransomware attack genuinely took place. The Cyber Express has reached out to the firm seeking confirmation of the cyberattack. The article would be updated once there is an official response to the incident.

If the ransomware attack on Harry Perkins is indeed confirmed, the implications for the firm could be extensive and severe. Cybersecurity has become increasingly important in every sector, and the video surveillance system is no exception. A compromised Video Surveillance System can result in unauthorized access to sensitive data along with concerns over the privacy of individuals.

MEDUSA Ransomware: Rising Number of Attacks

Last month, MEDUSA ransomware escalated their activities. They first targeted AJE Group, a prominent company in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages in Peru, exfiltrating 646.4 GB of the company’s data.

The notorious group then allegedly carried out data breaches of two institutions in the USA. The first was the Tri-Cities Preparatory High School, a public charter middle and high school located in Prescott, Arizona. The second target is Fitzgerald, DePietro & Wojnas CPAs, P.C., an accounting firm based in Utica, New York.

MEDUSA first emerged in June 2021 and has since launched attacks on organizations across various countries and industries, including healthcare, education, manufacturing, and retail. Despite its global reach, most victims have been based in the United States.

MEDUSA operates as a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) platform, offering malicious software and infrastructure to would-be attackers. This model enables less technically skilled criminals to launch sophisticated ransomware attacks. MEDUSA’s threat actors often utilize a public Telegram channel to post stolen data, leveraging public exposure as an extortion tactic to pressure organizations into paying the ransom.

While the authenticity of the ransomware attack on The Harry Perkins Institute remains unconfirmed, the potential consequences are significant. The Cyber Express will continue to monitor this ongoing situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.

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