Los Angeles: A Los Angeles hospital has paid $17,000 in bitcoins to hackers after its computer systems were taken offline by ransomware.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles

Systems at the hospital Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center had been affected for more than a week and their staff was forced to carry out some tasks on paper.

However, the hospital’s chief executive Allen Stefanek, said the incident had not affected the quality of patient care. Previously, sources had reported that the hackers were demanding a ransom payment of $3.4m – but Mr Stefanek denied this. “The amount of ransom requested was 40 bitcoins, equivalent to $17,000,” he wrote.

“The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key.” All systems currently in use had been cleared of malware and thoroughly tested, he added.

Ransomware is a form of malware which infects a victim’s computer, locking it, and demanding that a ransom – often in bitcoins – be paid in order to restore access.