Calif. hospital pays hackers $17K ransom

2014 03 20 14 31 00 633 Computer Lock Security 200

A California hospital has paid 40 Bitcoins, or $17,000, in ransom to hackers that attacked its enterprise-wide hospital information system.

Staff of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles noticed problems accessing the hospital's computer network on February 5, according to a letter released February 17 by President and CEO Allen Sefanek. The hospital's IT department investigated and discovered that the facility had been subject to a malware attack.

The malware locks systems by encrypting files and demanding ransom in exchange for a decryption key, Stefanek wrote.

"The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key," he wrote. "In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this."

Hollywood Presbyterian's electronic medical record system was restored on February 15. Patient care was not affected, and there is no evidence that patient or employee information has been compromised, Stefanek said.

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