A hacker who has attacked the computers of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center is demanding a ransom of 9,000 bitcoins to remove the ransomware which is holding the hospital’s computers hostage, since a week and is preventing the staff from accessing essential data like patient files and test results.
The issue came to forefront when the hospital’s President and CEO, Allen Stefanek told NBC Los Angeles that the hospital’s computer network was suffering from IT issues since February 05 which is posing a big problem in day to day activities and the hospital is forced to turn away new patients.
The staff is using fax machines and telephones to communicate between different departments as they do not have access to email. Doctors also are unable to access patient’s information, including past medical records, newly admitted record and medical test results.
Registrations and medical records are being logged on paper and staff has been instructed to leave their systems offline until told otherwise.
The malware has resulted in a typical chaos within the hospital as some outpatients are missing on their treatments while new patients are being transferred to other hospitals.
Though no patient information has been compromised but the hospital has given the charge to Los Angeles Police department (LAPD) and law enforcement agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to trace the identity of the attackers so that hospital does not lose out more.
In earlier hospital e -attacks, the hackers generally focused on stealing personal data but in this case nothing as such happened and the attack looks more to extract a big payout.
A bitcoin presently costs about $397.07 USD, making the ransom demand worth about $3,573,630 USD.
It is not been made clear if the hospital plans to pay the ransom or not if the solution to attack isn’t found.
The critical data needs to be stored in a tape backup as these sorts of attacks are becoming common with every increasing day.