Hospital paid hackers 40 bitcoins to get its network back

A Hollywood hospital struck by ransomware decided to pay up.

Updated ·1 min read
Susan Goldman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After more than a week of computer problems for Hollywood Presbyterian Memorial Medical Center, President & CEO Allen Stefanek announced (PDF) that it has decided to pay 40 bitcoins, or about $17,000 to fix the issue. The hospital's network was struck by ransomware on February 5th, and Stefanek's letter explained that the one his organization got hit by encrypted files and demanded money for an encryption key. Previous reports put the pricetag for access at $3.6 million, but the executive claims that is false, and the hospital chose the "quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions."

The medical record system was apparently back up and running on Monday, and the letter says there is no evidence patient or employee information was accessed. Even if that is true, with malware continuing to spread this is probably not the end of the story for Cryptolocker and other ransomware variants hitting vulnerable individuals and businesses.