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The hospital held hostage by hackers

Los Angeles medical workers are dealing with an internal emergency straight out of science fiction, one that cybersecurity experts say is increasingly common.

For more than a week, hackers have shut down the internal computer system at a Hollywood-area hospital for a ransom of 9,000 bitcoin, or almost $3.7 million, according to NBC 4 Los Angeles. The hospital says patient care has not been compromised, though the cyberattack has forced the facility, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, to revert to paper registrations and medical records and send 911 patients to other area hospitals, NBC 4 reports.

Hollywood Presbyterian did not immediately respond to CNBC's request to comment, but an unnamed doctor told NBC 4 that emergency rooms have been affected and fax lines at the hospital are jammed from lack of access to email.

It's all due to a type of malicious software called ransomware that encrypts sensitive data until it can only be unlocked with a keycode, said Tim Erlin, director of IT security and risk strategy at enterprise cybersecurity firm Tripwire.

"It's a good reminder that you don't have to attack...