HACKERS SHUT DOWN HOLLYWOOD HOSPITAL COMPUTER NETWORK. ASK FOR $3.4 MILLION IN RANSOM TO DECRYPT SYS

Hospital Advised To Pay. Coughs Up $17,000 In Bitcoins For Cryptokey To Regain Access To Its Systems.

In a recent article from Brian Barrett at wired.com, he writes that as ransomware attacks continue to rise and hackers’ methods become increasingly more sophisticated, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles, California becomes the latest notable victim.

For roughly more than a week, the hospital’s computer systems were down after ransomware ended up on its internal network. The attackers reportedly asked for $3.4 million to decrypt the system and the hospital files. Barrett reports that the hospital worked with the FBI, LAPD and computer forensic experts to recover its systems and eventually agreed to pay the hackers $17,000 in bitcoins to decrypt the system and the hospital files. It’s still not clear if this was a malicious or a random attack, but Barrett hints “a hospital in a wealthy neighborhood seems unlikely to be a random target, especially for such a large sum.”

Barrett also asks the question, “how bad is it?” and writes that the scale of this ransomware attack is about as bad as it gets and mentions a Symantec report about the total amount of ransomware paid out in any given year being at $5 million. With this single incident asking initially for well over half that amount he believes it could inspire copycat attacks. On the flip side, he believes if the hackers are identified, perhaps it could act as a deterrent. In the end, Barrett makes a good point that “Either way, for now it shows that no target is off-limits for ransomware, nor is any sum.”

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