Hollywood-based hospital pays ransom of 40 bitcoin

By Daniel Zo Bitcoin, Ransomware

During the last couple of months, there have been numerous reports of extortionist attempts, which consist of hackers getting into your system, and locking you out of the possibility of viewing personal information. Usually, the only way to regain access to your personal information would be to provide the hackers with a ransom, usually sent via bitcoin.

Recent reports indicate that a Hollywood-based hospital was the target of such an attempt a couple of days ago. Based on this, the attack started on the fifth of February, when the staff of the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital noticed that they were unable to access their network and the afferent files stored on it. Once this happened, the tech team at the institution was informed that they have been the target of an extortion attack, and that the only way to regain access to the files would be to pay hackers a total of 40 bitcoin, worth around $17,000.

Initially, the hospital demanded assistance from security experts and the local police. Regardless of this, the data remained locked, which forced the hospital to take the painful decision of sending out the bitcoin. In a recent statement, the hospital declared that:  “The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key. In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this.”

Unfortunately, the attack didn’t only lock out the hospital out of accessing sensitive patient information, but 911 patients had to be sent to other hospitals, as the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital was forced to register medical records via pen and paper.

Allen Stefanek, the President and CEO of the institution declared that fortunately, no personal data had been compromised.

In addition to this attack, recent reports also point towards a new Russian ransomware that is reportedly infecting around 90,000 computers per day. While the malware itself isn’t too sophisticated, once it infects a computer, it asks users for 0.5 to 1 bitcoin in order to regain access to their files. Generally, extortion attempts can be regarded to as dirty, yet efficient ways of getting access to a lot of money. This is the main reason why it is essential to educate yourself about the vulnerabilities of your computer and how to stay safe online. Investing into high quality antiviruses is also bound to decrease your chances of being infected anytime in the near future.

Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what do you personally think about the hospital’s decision to pay the ransom? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.