St. Vincent’s Health, a not-for-profit health and aged care provider in Australia, has been hit by a cyberattack that resulted in the theft of data.

The organisation said that it detected the cyber security incident on 19 December 2023 and immediately initiated containment measures, engaging external security experts and informing relevant state and federal authorities.

By 21 December, evidence emerged that cybercriminals had removed some data from the network.

The provider has currently launched a probe to ascertain the extent of the data breach and identify what data has been compromised, while focusing on securing and containing the incident.

Despite the breach, St. Vincent’s Health assured that the incident has not impacted its ability to deliver crucial services across its hospital, aged care, and virtual and home health networks.

The health provider operates in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.

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Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cyber Security Centre is actively involved in addressing the cyber incident, working closely with St. Vincent’s Health.

The acting national cyber security coordinator, Hamish Hansford, said in a LinkedIn post: “My team is working with Services Australia, the Department of Health and Aged Care, and relevant State and Territory agencies, to ensure a coordinated government response to this incident and to mitigate any flow-on effects.”

This incident comes amid a rising trend in cyber threats. In the financial year to June 2023, there were nearly 94,000 reports of cybercrime made to law enforcement agencies in Australia, reflecting a 23% increase from the prior year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre revealed in its recent report.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged the seriousness of cybersecurity threats and highlighted the government’s commitment to addressing these issues, with recent announcements of improved measures to combat cybercriminal activities.