L.A. hospital pays ransom to regain control of computer system from hackers

hollywoodpresbyterian2hitnCalWatchDog-Announcing its data had been taken hostage by hackers, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center got its information back but triggered a new wave of fears that so-called “ransomware” attacks pose a serious threat to the health care industry in California and beyond.

“While it was not the first hacked organization to acquiesce to attackers’ demands, the California hospital that paid $17,000 in ransom to hackers to regain control of its computer system was unusual in one notable way: It went public with the news,” Reuters reported.

Until the hospital coughed up the sum, several of its key and core functions were effectively paralyzed. “The facility was without access to email, digital patient records and some internet-connected medical devices for nearly two weeks, from Feb. 5 to 17,” according to CBC.

“It’s no different than if they took all the patients and held them in one room at gunpoint,” insisted state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, Reuters reported. Hertzberg has introduced legislation “to make a ransomware attack equivalent to extortion and punishable by up to four years in prison.”

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