Columbia Surgical Specialists paid an almost $15,000 ransom to regain access to files encrypted during a ransomware attack.

The Spokane, Wash.-area healthcare facility told its patients the news in a letter sent on March 7, claiming the locked files were needed to ensure the health and safety of several patients.

“Yes, we paid $14,649.09. We received notice from the people that encrypted the files just a few hours before several patients were scheduled for surgeries, and they made it clear we would not have access to patient information until we paid a fee. We quickly determined that the health and well-being of our patients was the number one concern, and when we made the payment they gave us the decryption key so we could immediately proceed unlocking the data,” Columbia said.

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