L.A. Hospital Pays Hackers $17,000 Ransom for Its Own Computers

Bitcoins for ransom. Welcome to the new world.

Welcome to Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, where they care about your well-being so much that they’ll pay ransom to emo hipsters so your being continues to be well.

If you have a loved one in the area, you can breathe easy… now. 

The 434-bed short-term, acute-care hospital fell victim to a bizarre hack that held its software captive. Most healthcare is technologically advanced working from a server of some kind, so when some hacker says they’ve got your software, you listen.

They did, as seen through this public letter from its president and CEO, Allen Stefanek. The request was the esoteric amount of 40 bitcoins, equivalent to $17,000.

“The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key.”

All systems currently in use — specifically, its electronic medical records system — had been cleared of malware and thoroughly tested, he added.

Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman, said the bureau has taken over the hacking investigation but declined to discuss specifics of the case. Law enforcement sources told The Times that the hospital paid the ransom before reaching out to law enforcement for assistance.

The cyber imprisonment took place on Feb. 5, and many believe it was established through someone in the network clicking on an email link that opened up a Trojan Horse Virus.

Although the ransom is currently under investigation, many take an issue with Stefanek paying the ransom to these anonymous hackers without hesitation.

However, what would you do with 434 full beds and the need for immediate care?

PR takes a back seat when the need is life and death.


[PHOTO: Courtesy of HPMC]

Recommended articles