By: Kayla Thrailkill and Daniel McDonough
Ransomware locked hospital files causing delays in patient care, and a need to transfer patients to other facilities….
The only full-service community hospital in Southern California, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, was hacked last Friday. This lead to various files being encrypted causing the hospital to declare an “internal emergency”. Almost a week later, there are still IT issues, and patients reported experiencing delays in patient care. Due to the ransomware, patient records are inaccessible. Because of this, some patients have been sent to other facilities.
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has been actively working with the FBI in an attempt to determine who is responsible for the malware. They also hired computer forensics experts to try and decrypt the files, but were unsuccessful.
The ransomware scammers were requesting the equivalent of 3.4 million dollars in digital funds called Bitcoins, in exchange for the encryption key. It was announced earlier today that the hospital indeed paid the scammers. But much less than the original request. According to the Los Angeles Times, the medical center paid the equivalent of $17,000, in Bitcoins, for the encryption key.
There are no current leads on how the ransomware accessed the hospital’s files. KnowBe4 believes it could have been a socially engineered attack that could have been avoidable had employees had security awareness training. Dodi Glenn, PC Pitstop’s Vice President of Cybersecurity, reported how ransomware scams are initiated to International Business Times,
“They throw out a wide chum net and whoever bites, bites. It’s a highly transactional business.”
Check out our interactive, live map of the ransomware attacks that have taken place within the U.S. below: