(CNN) - Large-scale ransomware attacks will continue, and they'll likely get worse, experts warn.
Ransomware, you may remember, is a nasty computer virus designed to hold data hostage until you pay a specific fee.
Massive attacks this year have amounted to a wake-up call for some about the dangers of ransomware. Extorted companies lose productivity, and people's health may be at risk if ransomware targets hospitals.
Last February, officials at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles said they paid the Bitcoin equivalent of $17,000 to cybercriminals after patient and doctor records were locked for almost two weeks. The hospital says it had to resort to handwriting to cope with the computer lockdown.
"The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key," said Allen Stefanek, president of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, in a statement. "In the best interest of restoring normal operations, we did this."
A huge attack in May that spread around the world and hit more than 300,000 machines in over 150 companies was blamed on ransomware. Hospitals, major companies and government offices were among those that were affected.
Another attack in June, initially suspected of being ransomware, affected dozens of Ukrainian, Russian, European and American firms. Researchers later determined that the attack, nicknamed NotPetya, was a sophisticated virus, but not a ransomware.
Read more here: www.news4jax.com/tech/ransomware-a-malicious-gift-that-keeps-on-giving