A Los Angeles hospital paid a ransom of nearly $17,000 in bitcoins to hackers who infiltrated and disabled its computer network because paying was in the best interest of the hospital and most efficient way to solve the problem, the medical center’s chief executive said Wednesday. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center CEO Allen Stefanek said the hackers demanded a ransom of 40 bitcoins, currently worth $16,664. The FBI is investigating the attack, which began on Feb. 5.

Authorities said this kind of attack is called “ransomware,” where hackers encrypt a computer network’s data to hold it “hostage,” providing a digital decryption key to unlock it for a price.”The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key,” Stefanek said. “In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this.” READ MORE