Hollywood Presbyterian declares emergency after hackers cut off data, demand $3.4 million ransom

Hospital workers resort to handwritten notes and faxes after hackers demand $3.4 million in Bitcoin from the hospital in a ransomware attack.
By Bill Siwicki
01:42 PM
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Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center

Hackers have launched a ransomware attack against Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and are holding the hospital’s data hostage unless they receive a ransom of $3.4 million in Bitcoin.

Without access to their systems, Hollywood Presbyterian caregivers have fallen back on handwritten notes and faxes since the hackers knocked the provider offline last week, according to local news reports.

[Also: Flint hospital hit with cyberattack]

Hospital executives have declined to comment.

Everything from e-mails to CT scans have been affected, and patients are showing up in person to pick up prescriptions and test results that cannot be sent electronically because of the emergency.

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Experts say ransomware attacks are simple for expert hackers to conduct, and can result in hackers securing the funds they seek from businesses, such as hospitals, anxious to get their critical systems and data back online.

The Los Angeles Police Department is working with the FBI to investigate the attack against the hospital, according to local news reports.

UPDATE: On Feb. 17, Hollywood Presbyterian paid the hackers bitcoin worth $17,000 – which was the initial ransom demand, rather than the $3.4 million first reported by various sources.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT