A Los Angeles hospital paid a nearly $17,000 ransom to hackers who infiltrated its computer systems in order to regain access, the medical center’s chief executive said Wednesday.
The anonymous hackers were able to encrypt the computer systems of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, shutting down communications in what is commonly termed a “ransomware” attack. They then offered a decryption key at a price of 40 bitcoins equal to approximately $16,664 U.S. dollars, a hard to trace Internet currency.
Workers at Hollywood Presbyterian noticed the network problems on Feb. 5 and immediately informed law enforcement, but ultimately decided to pay the ransom, which CEO Allen Stefanak said was “in the best interest of restoring normal operations.”
There is no evidence any patient data was compromised, Stefanak said, and patient care was not affected by the breach.
The FBI is still on the case, though, saying in a statement, “we are investigating the compromise with partners at LAPD to determine the person or group responsible,” but giving no details or any indication as to whether there are any suspects.