Cyber Security

Suspected Ransomware Attack Hits a Major US Hospital Chain

A major hospital chain, Universal Health Services, has been hit with a cyberattack, one of the massive attacks on medical data in the United States history. Computer systems of Universal Health Services that has more than 400 locations, began to crash over the weekend. According to people familiar with the situation, some hospitals resorted to filing patient information with paper and pen. In this article at NBC News, Kevin Collier explains the reasons behind the attack.

How Did the Incident Occur?

“Hackers seeking to deploy ransomware often wait until the weekend, when a company is likely to not have as many technical staff members present,” says Kevin. According to the hospital sources, the computers slowed and eventually did not turn on in the early hours of Sunday morning. Additionally, other sources of hospital reported that computers just started shutting down on their own. The statement released by Universal Health Services revealed that the ‘company-wide network is currently offline, due to an IT security issue.’ The statement also confirmed that no patient or employee data has been accessed, copied, or misused by hackers.

This major hospital chain has served 3.5 million patients in 2019 and employs 90,000 people globally, primarily in the US.

Consequences of the Attack

Ransomware can have a devastating effect on hospitals and patients. Experts believe that when nurses and physicians cannot access labs, cardiology, or radiology reports, it can dramatically slow down the treatment process. In extreme cases, the hospital authorities are forced to re-route the critical care to other treatment centers. When the system goes down, there is a genuine possibility that people can die. In early April, INTERPOL warned that it had detected a significant increase in ransomware attacks against hospitals and medical services engaged in the virus response.

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