Recently the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was the victim of a ransomware heist. The hospital declared a state of emergency on February 5th because of the siege of their files. Hollywood Presbyterian issued a statement to the press in the evening on Wednesday February 17th stating that they had restored their electronic medical record (EMR) system on Monday, February 15th.
The hospital isn’t disclosing exactly how much they paid the scammers to recover their files but it looks like the sum was about $17,000 in bitcoin. During the week long siege they lost control and access to their CT scans, documentation, lab results, and most other electronic functions. The hospital instead had to rely on pen and paper and even had to transfer patients to other hospitals.
The hospital probably got the malware infection through a tainted email attachment or through infected advertising on a website. Ransomware can, and does, happen to literally everyone. Watch what you are doing online and be careful that you do not open any attachments or click on links in emails unless you are completely certain they are safe. Keep your anti-virus software up to date. If you ever feel like you have been infected reboot your computer into safe-mode with networking as soon as possible and run tools to clean the infection. If a hospital can be harmed by ransomware so can you. Keep safe out there!