Los Angeles area hospital paid 17K ransom to hackers of its computer network

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center CEO Allen Stefanek said in a statement Wednesday that paying the ransom of 40 bitcoins was "the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions."

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The chief executive of a Los Angeles hospital says it paid a ransom in bitcoins equivalent to about $17,000 to hackers who infiltrated and disabled its computer network.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center CEO Allen Stefanek said in a statement Wednesday that paying the ransom of 40 bitcoins was “the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions.” He says the hospital did it in the interest of restoring normal operations.

Stefanek says the hospital first noticed the malware in its computer system on Feb. 5, and normal operations were restored on Monday, 10 days later.

He said patient care was not affected, and there’s no evidence patient data was compromised.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller says the agency is investigating the extortion plot, often called “ransomware,” but she couldn’t immediately provide further details.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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