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Bitcoin Ransom Demanded of California Hospital After Malwar Attack

As the digital age introduces many new conveniences to our lives, it also spawns new and serious threats to the security of our personal information. A study from 2013 found that there were 82,000 new malware threats each day, and the number hasn’t yet decreased in 2016.

On Feb. 5, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center staff noticed technical errors when trying to access their computer systems. Malware had gained access and locked the systems to prevent any online communication.

In cases like this, the perpetrator often demands a hefty ransom for the decryption key, which would restore normal operations. Because the safety of hundreds of patients and their medical information was at risk, the hospital in this case paid up.

The price to regain access to their medical files was 40 bitcoins, which is equivalent to around $17,000 dollars.

Allen Stefanek, the president of the hospital, said that the electronic medical records system was restored on Monday and that the hospital had contacted law enforcement.

This story is just one of many that are a part of a mounting problem. In fact, the next stage in malware criminal technology is its ability to access smartphones.

As of yet, criminals have not perfected the software that would enable them to remotely wipe phones, but they are getting there.

As of now, the “hacks” are achieved with multimedia text messages and destructive apps, which, once installed, take full control of your gadget.


For now, avoiding phone threats is simple: don’t follow the texted link. But the threat of malware attacks on computers still looms.