Ransomware is one of the nastiest forms of malware around: once it’s downloaded onto a computer network, it runs around encrypting all your files, before charging a Bitcoin ransom to give up the encryption key: bad if it’s your holiday photos at stake, disastrous for hospitals and patient data.
The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has been dealing with a ransomware infection for the last few days—and by dealing with, I mean consulting a team of probably-expensive security consultants, checking backups, and then concluding that paying the ransom was probably the easiest way out.
In total, the hospital paid 40 Bitcoins (around $17,000) to anonymous hackers to reclaim access to its files, a settlement CEO Allen Stefanek said was “the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions”.
He’s not wrong—even the FBI has admitted that paying up is normally the best way to resolve a ransomware situation. The sad fact is that encryption is strong, and so long as people are dumb enough to open weird email attachments, ransomware of some kind will remain a good option for hackers out to make a little money.