Bitcoin Ransom Paid to Hackers

by Tim Marshall 7. March 2016 08:27
In a real warning sign about the attractiveness of of healthcare data to cyber criminals, a group of hackers infiltrated a hospital’s network and encrypted its data in order to collect a ransom from the hospital. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center employees noticed network issues on Feb. 5th, and it soon became apparent that their network had been infected with malware. Law enforcement and computer experts were contacted immediately, but the network wouldn’t regain full functionality for another 10 days while the ransom demand played out. Interestingly, the hackers demanded their ransom in bitcoin, most likely due to its difficulty to trace. According to hospital CEO Allen Stefanek, it was in the best interest of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center to pay the ransom of 40 bitcoins, equivalent to $16,664, to regain unencrypted access to their network. Encryption threats and ransom demands offer another way for the bad guys to profit from cybercrime. And with the proliferation of bitcoin and related technologies, it may become even more difficult to track them down or prosecute. Now that a ransom ploy has succeeded, this can’t help but have the effect of encouraging more ransom-motivated hacks.