A large Los Angeles hospital chose to pay hackers who were holding its computer network hostage, a move its CEO said was in its best interest and the most efficient way to end the problem.
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center showed uncommon transparency in saying Wednesday that it paid the 40 bitcoins — or about $17,000 — demanded when it fell victim to what's commonly called "ransomware."
The hacking tactic is growing fast against both individuals and institutions, but it's difficult to say exactly how fast, and even tougher to say how many pay up.
"Unfortunately, a lot of companies don't tell anybody if they had fallen victim to ransomware and especially if they have paid the criminals," said Adam Kujawa, Head of Malware Intelligence for Malwarebytes, a San Jose-based company that recently released anti-ransomware software. "I know from the experiences I hear about from various industry professionals that it's a pretty common practice to just hand over the cash."
Computer security experts normally recommend people not pay the ransom, though at times law enforcement agencies suggest they do, Kujawa said.