informa
Quick Hits

Universal Health Services Network Down in Apparent Ransomware Attack

UHS reportedly hit with ransomware that took down its network that supports hundreds of healthcare facilities and hospitals.

This article was updated on 9/29/2020 with new information from Universal Health Services

Universal Health Services, one of the largest hospital and healthcare services providers in the US, confirmed today that the IT network that supports its facilities is offline in the wake of what it called "an IT security issue." 

"We implement extensive IT security protocols and are working diligently with our IT security partners to restore IT operations as quickly as possible. 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," a UHS spokesperson said in a statement provided to Dark Reading. "No patient or employee data appears to have been accessed, copied or misused."

The company's email system appeared to still be down today, as the spokesperson responded to inquiries about the attack via a personal account after an attempt was made to reach the company via its corporate email system.

UPDATE: UHS on Sept. 29 issued a press release stating that the incident began early morning on Sept. 27, 2020. "As a result, the Company suspended user access to its information technology applications related to operations located in the United States," the release said.   

"The Company has implemented extensive information technology security protocols and is working diligently with its security partners to restore its information technology operations as quickly as possible. 

In the meantime, while this matter may result in temporary disruptions to certain aspects of our clinical and financial operations, our acute care and behavioral health facilities are utilizing their established back-up processes including offline documentation methods. Patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively.

At this time, we have no evidence that patient or employee data was accessed, copied or misused."

TechCrunch reported on Sept. 28 that the event was a ransomware attack, and that it had locked out UHS users from computer and telecommunications systems at healthcare and hospital facilities nationwide. One source told TechCrunch that computer screens were replaced with text that included a mention of "shadow universe," the typical calling card of Ryuk ransomware's ransom note.

UHS has hundreds of facilities in the US and UK and reported revenue of $11.4 billion in 2019. 

We will continue to cover and update this breaking story.

Read more here.

 

Recommended Reading: