A large hospital chain that operates medical facilities around the U.S. was taken offline Monday, and in a statement blamed an unnamed technology "security issue." Security experts say it sounds like a "suspected ransomware attack."
Universal Health Services operates over 250 hospitals and other medical facilities throughout the nation. They said late Monday their network was offline, and doctors and nurses were resorting to "back-up processes" including paper records.
The Fortune 500 company, with 90,000 employees, said "patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively" and no patient or employee data appeared to have been "accessed, copied or misused."
The company also has hospitals in the United Kingdom, but its operations in that country were not affected, a spokeswoman said Monday night.
UHS provided no details about the incident, but people posting to an online Reddit forum who identified themselves as employees said the chain's network was hit by ransomware overnight Sunday. The posts echoed the alarm of a clinician at a UHS facility in Washington, D.C., who described to The Associated Press a mad scramble, including anxiety over determining which patients might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Read more at the Associated Press: Cyberattack hobbles major hospital chain's US facilities