Hollywood Hospital Data Held Hostage; Hackers Demand $3.5 Billion in Bitcoin

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Healthcare and Public Health // California, United States

Staff at the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center noticed "significant IT issues and declared an internal emergency,” hospital president and CEO Allen Stefanek says.

The assault has shut down the computer system at the center for more than a week.

Several hospital staff members say hackers are demanding a bounty of $3.4 billion in bitcoins in exchange for key codes to restore the system.

Stefanek says the attack was "random.”

He said 911 patients in ambulances are being sporadically diverted to other hospitals, and all registrations and medical records are being written on paper.

Jackie Mendez and her 87-year-old ailing mother had to drive more than an hour to pick up medical tests in person, Mendez said.

Belmont West said he came into the hospital Friday and was told he could not access his grandmother's medical test results.

"It's a little worrying because when you go to a hospital you expect the best care, but it seems there is some sort of delay and failure in the system," he said.