Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Hollywood Hospital Held Hostage By Hackers Who Shut Down Their Network

Today on Giving Tuesday, we need you.
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all today on Giving Tuesday. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls AND will be matched dollar-for-dollar! Let your support for reliable local reporting be amplified by this special matching opportunity. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

The chips are down at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital following a "ransomware" attack that rendered the hospital’s network and computer system entirely inoperable. Because of the attack, several patients have been transferred to other hospitals where, presumably, the chips are not down, according to NBC 4.

On February 5, hospital officials declared an internal emergency along with “significant IT issues,” owing to their complete inability to use any computers at the hospital. More or less, the ransomware attack has locked doctors and staff alike out of the entire hospital network, prompting them for a password. Hackers demand a $3.4 million ransom to unlock the hospital's network.

The Los Angeles Police Department and FBI are investigating the identity of the attackers, though in the meantime, the hospital's computers are still offline.

Hollywood Presbyterian has been operating through totally analog means since the attack. Paper records, paper notes, and paper memos are the currency of information, challenging access to patient records, reportedly causing service slow downs, and rendering some equipment inoperable.

Support for LAist comes from

While the hospital insists that its level of care has been unaffected, the computer hack means several parts of the hospital where computers are required for use are totally offline. CT scans, documentation, and a number of different lab and pharmacy functions are unavailable.

Hospital officials stress that hackers have not been able to get their hands on any patient data, though ransomware attacks aren't typically out looking for personal data to start with. According to Allen Stefanek, the hospital CEO and president, the hospital attack was random, and had nothing to do with data stored in hospital servers.

A "random" attack like this means a hospital staffer likely clicked a malicious link while at work, opening the entire network up to vulnerability, reports the Verge.

Never click.