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Hackers hold thousands of hospital records hostage using ransomware

Hackers hold thousands of hospital records hostage using ransomware
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It's the moment we've all feared. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles has confirmed that it's the victim of a ransomware attack and that its computer files, including patient records, are completely inaccessible. The FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department and cybersecurity experts are investigating.

The hackers are demanding $3.6 million to give Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center access to its own computer system. The hackers said they would also accept 9,000 bitcoins (a bitcoin is an untraceable digital currency).

Meanwhile, the hospital's computer system has been down for more than a week, according to multiple reports, with employees having to do everything by hand. Many patients are being told to go to other hospitals, and Hollywood Presbyterian's radiation and oncology departments are temporarily closed.

The hospital has not said how this ransomware attack occurred. However, it is likely that an employee clicked on a malware link in an email, or opened a malicious attachment. Phishing scams like these are how ransomware typically attacks home computer as well, including yours.

Next page: Phishing scams, ransomware and how to stay safe
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