Cyber War Reality – Hospital Pays Ransom

The attack forced the hospital to return to pen and paper for its record-keeping.

LA TIMES | by Richard Winton:   Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid a $17,000 ransom in bitcoins to a hacker who seized control of the hospital’s computer systems and would give back access only when the money was paid, the hospital’s chief executive said Wednesday.

Hospital_Hollywood Presb Med Ctr

The assault on Hollywood Presbyterian occurred Feb. 5, when hackers using malware infected the institution’s computers, preventing hospital staff from being able to communicate from those devices, said CEO Allen Stefanek.

The hacker demanded 40 bitcoins, the equivalent of about $17,000, he said.

“The malware locks systems by encrypting files and demanding ransom to obtain the decryption key. The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key,” Stefanek said. “In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this.”

The hospital said it alerted authorities and was able to restore all its computer systems by Monday with the assistance of technology experts.

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