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Hospital pays hackers $17,000 to regain control of its computers

Hospital pays hackers $17,000 to regain control of its computers

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A Los Angeles hospital has paid a ransom of around $17,000 to anonymous hackers to regain control of its computer network. The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid 40 Bitcoins to regain control of its medical devices, portals, and file systems, after its network was infected with ransomware by the attackers. CEO Allen Stefanek confirmed that the center had paid the fee, a decision that he said was "the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions."

The ransomware was first discovered by the hospital on February 5th, and forced staff to use fax machines, land lines, and paper for a ten-day period before normal operations were resumed on February 15th. The attackers originally demanded more than $3.6 million, but apparently reduced their fee to a more realistic total at some point during the negotiations. It's not clear exactly when or how the malware was introduced to the hospital's network, but CSO says that its source was random, and most likely the result of a hospital worker following a malicious link or downloading an unexpected attachment on one of the center's computers.