Feb 22, 2016 10:23 AM EST

Ransomware Baffles Law Enforcement, California Hospital Forced To Pay Off Hackers

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A hospital in California paid off $17,000 ransom this week to free its computers from a hacker virus, this could signal a lucrative escalation of the growing ransomware threat.

These attacks done by cyber criminals managed to extort hundreds of millions of victims. Up until now, there ability to infiltrate undetected has baffled the authorities leaving Capitol Hill with less attention.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center announced on Wednesday that they had to pay the hackers with an anonymous digital currency using bitcoin, to regain control to their hacked systems. The hospital had gone through almost a week relying on paper charts and fax machines to carry on with their patients.

The so-called "ransomware" has been the hospital's victim, a virus that maliciously encrypts data on an internal computer system allowing the chance for hackers to demand money in exchange for a decryption key. Experts suggested that the ransomware industry reached a total of $1 billion a year.

Authorities tried to scramble in order to keep up with victims in desperation to take back control and they were left with no choice but to pay the price without police consultancy. Even the F.B.I told their victims to pay the hackers, a move suggested for security experts.

During a cyber security conference last fall, special agent of Cyber and Counterintelligence Program, Joseph Bonavolonta said, "The ransomware is that good, to be honest, we often advise people just to pay the ransom,"

Sometimes it works, where experts suggest that cyber attackers under normal condition deliver their promise to give back access for good business purpose.

The vice president of IT security at Recorded Future, Levi Gundert says, "They understand that if they don't deliver the key to decrypt the data, then they're going to be killing their own business model,"

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