LA Hospital Paid 17K Ransom to Hackers of Its Computer Network

The chief executive of a Los Angeles hospital said it paid a ransom in bitcoins equivalent to about $17,000 to hackers who infiltrated and disabled its computer network.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center CEO Allen Stefanek said in a statement Wednesday that paying the ransom of 40 bitcoins was "the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions." He said the hospital did it in the interest of restoring normal operations.

The hospital first noticed the malware in its computer system on Feb. 5, and normal operations were restored on Monday, 10 days later, Stefanek said. Patient care was not affected, and there's no evidence patient data was compromised, the hospital said in a statement.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says the agency is investigating the extortion plot, often called "ransomware," but she couldn't immediately provide further details. The attacks usually involve hackers who encrypt a computer network's data to hold it "hostage," then provide a decryption key for a price.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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