Healthcare Giant UHS Hit by Ransomware Attack

Healthcare giant Universal Health Services was hit by a ransomware attack over the weekend, reports NBC News.

UHS runs some 400 hospitals and care centers across the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The company told Reuters it was knocked offline following an unspecified “IT security issue,” but two people with direct knowledge of the incident told the news outlet the incident locked computers and phone systems at several facilities across the country, including California and Florida.

One person said the computer screens changed with text that referenced the “shadow universe,” consistent with the Ryuk ransomware.

Ryuk is a type of crypto-ransomware that uses encryption to block access to a system, device, or file until a ransom is paid.

“Everyone was told to turn off all the computers and not to turn them on again,” the person told Tech Crunch. “We were told it will be days before the computers are up again.”

UHS said no patient or employee data appears to have been access, copied or otherwise compromised.

“We implement extensive IT security protocols and are working diligently with our IT security partners to restore IT operations as quickly as possible,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

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