Feeding the chooks

In April 2008, flushed by its landslide victory in November 2007 election, the new Rudd government brought together a range of people prominent in their field – Cate Blanchett being the most remarked upon - to examine ten critical areas for the future of the nation.

The first seven of the areas (infra vide) featuring in the 2020 Summit  had direct clinical or business impacts for rural medical practitioners.

These were exciting times, full of great hope, and there was a sense that significant change was on the way. In May 2010, the final report was released. Of the 138 recommendations put forward, just three were adopted.

Telemonitoring equipment

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) In-Home Telemonitoring for Veterans Trial that started late last year in Armidale and Toowoomba has been extended to the NSW North Coast. The trial aims to determine if telemonitoring is a safe, effective and efficient complement to face-to-face GP consultations, and will contribute to providing better care for DVA Gold Card holders with high risk for admission. Veterans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, coronary artery heart disease or diabetes will have access to videoconferencing and remote monitoring of their vital signs by their usual surgery’s chronic disease nurse.

Cryptolocker is the latest and greatest in computer "ransomware".  It is spreading on the internet and its behaviour and the ramifications of infection are causing Australian businesses to revisit their approach to computer malware.

Cryptolocker is a well written, program that makes the most of the current strong encryption standards. It does not interfere with the computer's function in any way and is easy to remove. It gives clear messages to the user about what it is doing and posts regular updates on the state of the system and the data it contains.

So why is it different and why is it so effective?

In late 2012 it was reported that the Gold Coast’s Miami Family Medical Centre had been the subject of an internet extortion attempt, said to have been unsuccessful although police and IT support companies spent some time analysing the incident. 

This appears to be the first recording of a new type of ‘malware infection’ for Australian medical practices. Ransomware exploits have been known for many years but a type of encrypting ransomware known as CryptoLocker has become increasingly common in 2013. 

“The first 90 per cent of the code accounts for the first 90 per cent of the development time. The remaining 10 per cent of the code accounts for the other 90 per cent of the development time.”

- Tom Cargill, Bell Labs