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Hollywood Hospital Held Hostage By Hackers Who Shut Down Their Network

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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.

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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.