A cyber attack which took place almost two weeks ago has placed the information of a possible 8,000 clients of Family Planning NSW (FPNSW) at risk - including women who had booked appointments through its website in the past two-and-a-half years.
Journalist Lauren Ingram was one of the women alerted to the data breach by email 10:30am yesterday morning.
The email was sent to all FPNSW former clients and explained that the hackers demanded a $15,000 bitcoin ransom on Anzac Day, and that the website had been secured the next day.
It also confirmed that the more sensitive medical records where held internally and "were never under threat."
Lauren made an appointment with FPNSW to acquire an IUD and explains to Now to Love that while she wasn't worried about herself, she was very concerned for women who may be in danger from having their information compromised.
"Even though it's just appointment information and not internal medical records that were hacked, it's still terrifying for those involved. When filling in the booking forms you had to put your name, contact details and why you were booking an appointment, which is quite a lot of information," she reveals.
"When it comes to reproductive health, many women have to fight to access it on a daily basis. Even in NSW, abortion is in the criminal code and can only be accessed under certain circumstances. Then there are social consequences for women who might have conservative families or be in abusive relationships. If the people around them found out they were accessing services at Family Planning NSW it could have horrible consequences. My first thought was for them," she continues.
"I don't feel good about my data being held for ransom. As far as I know, this is the first time my name and contact information including my phone number has been caught up in a breach, and this time it includes some medical information which is pretty scary too. In a time when I'm cracking down on my own security with passwords etc, it's not great when something like this happens."
If you are concerned over whether your data was breached contact the organisation at 1800 957 860 during business hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org.