Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (HPMC) has paid nearly $17,000 to hackers to restore function to its computer network after a malware attack, according to a statement issued February 17, 2016. The Los Angeles hospital paid a ransom of 40 bitcoins, the equivalent of $16,664, to repair functionality after staff began noticing problems the evening of February 5.
In the statement, the hospital said the malware “locked access to certain computer systems and prevented us from sharing communications electronically,” requiring a decryption code to unlock the systems. HPMC contacted law enforcement while computer experts attempted to restore access.
Their efforts were apparently unsuccessful, however, and the hospital determined that “the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key.” Normal function was restored on February 15, 2016. All systems currently in use have been cleared of malware.
HPMC President and CEO Allen Stefanek noted that “patient care has not been compromised in any way” and there was no evidence that patient or employee information had been subjected to unauthorized access.