The major hospital system has come under a cyber attack, perhaps the largest in US history

A major hospital chain has been hit by what appears to be one of the largest medical cyberattacks in US history.

Computer systems for comprehensive health services which It has more than 400 sitesBasically, in the US, failure began over the weekend, and some hospitals were forced to provide patient information with pen and paper, according to several people familiar with the situation.

Universal Health Services did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but was posted statement To its website that its company-wide network “is currently offline due to an IT security issue. One person familiar with the company’s unauthorized response efforts said to speak to the press that the attack” looks and smells like ransomware.

Ransomware is a type of malware that spreads across computer networks, encrypting files and requiring payment for a key to decrypt them. It has become a popular tactic for hackers, although attacks of this scale against medical facilities are not uncommon. A patient died after prof Ransom attack against a German hospital In early September, she was transferred to a different hospital, which led to speculation that it may be the first known death from the ransomware program.

Hackers seeking to spread ransomware often wait until the end of the week, as the company likely won’t have a large number of technical personnel.

Two nurses from Universal Health Services, who asked not to be named because the company were not authorized to speak to the media, said the attack began over the weekend and left the medical staff to work with pen and paper.

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One nurse, who works at a facility in North Dakota, said computers slowed down and then eventually simply wouldn’t work in the early hours of Sunday morning. “As of today, all computers are completely down,” said the nurse.

“The computer just started shutting down on its own,” said another registered nurse at a facility in Arizona who worked this weekend.

“Our treatment system is online, so that was tough,” said the Arizona nurse.

While many of the patient charts in this facility are on paper, medication information is kept online, although it is backed up at the end of each day, the nurse said.

The person said, “We had these updates until the 26th.”

“Now we had to manually classify each medication,” said the nurse. “This is all an improvement.”

Ransomware can wreak havoc on hospitals. In 2017, a strain of ransomware called WannaCry, created by hackers working for the North Korean government, spread around the world and infected the UK’s national health system even though it was not a direct target. The attack stopped At least 80 medical facilities, Although there were no reported deaths linked to the accident.

Kenneth White, a computer security engineer with more than a decade of experience working with hospital networks, said that delays caused by ransomware attacks can have dire consequences for patients.

“When nurses and doctors are unable to access laboratories and radiology or cardiology reports, this can significantly slow treatment and, in extreme cases, force critical care to be redirected to other treatment centers,” he said. “When these systems fail, there is a real possibility that people will die.”

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Thelma Binder

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