Massive Cyber Attack Targets One Of The Largest U.S. Healthcare Providers

Emergency services of the Abbeville hospital

One of the largest hospital chains in the country was hit by a massive cyber attack over the weekend. Computer systems at hospitals around the country started to go down over the weekend, and as of Monday (September 28), Universal Health Services said their systems remained offline. The hackers did not appear to access any patient or employee data.

"The IT Network across Universal Health Services (UHS) facilities is currently offline, due to an IT security issue," UHS, which has more than 400 hospitals and healthcare facilities, said in a statement. "We implement extensive IT security protocols and are working diligently with our IT security partners to restore IT operations as quickly as possible."

UHS said that the cyber attack, which is one of the largest in U.S. history, is not impacting patient care.

"In the meantime, our facilities are using their established back-up processes, including offline documentation methods. Patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively," the company said.

That has not been an easy task for the nurses and doctors. One nurse who works at a hospital in Arizona said they have been forced to use back-ups and manually log all the information because their medication system, which is entirely online, went down.

"Now we had to hand-label every medication," the nurse said. "It's all improv."

According to NBC News, "one person familiar with the company's response efforts who was not authorized to speak to the press said that the attack 'looks and smells like ransomware.'" A ransomware attack locks a computer a system and demands payment, usually in the form of cryptocurrency such a bitcoin, to unlock the machine.

Photo: Getty Images

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