A group of hackers believed to be from Russia has encrypted all the patient records at a Gold Coast medical center, and is asking $4,000 to decrypt them again.

An Australian medical practice lost access to its patients’ records after Russian hackers encrypted the facility’s entire data system.

The unidentified hackers are currently holding the Gold Coast’s Miami Family Medical Centre hostage at a ransom of $4,000, a pretty low figure but one that ABC News suggests could lead to a more likely payout.

On Monday, MFMC co-owner David Wood told reporters that the hackers were able to infiltrate the system despite a sturdy antivirus program that he said didn’t fail.

“We’ve got all the antivirus stuff in place—there’s no sign of a virus,” Wood said. “They literally got in, hijacked the server and then ran their encryption software.

“It’s people who know how to break in past firewalls and hack passwords to get onto the server.”

Wood assured reporters that no personal patient data had been stolen during the raid.

The company is looking for alternative ways to recover its lost information. If that can’t happen, it’s likely it will have to pay up the ransom—that hefty sum of $4,000.

Meanwhile, the Medical Centre will continue to operate, although Wood told ABC it will be “very, very, very difficult” without patient records.

Photo via Altemark/Flickr

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