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UHS: Large hospital system struggling to recover computer network operations after cyberattack



“We are making steady progress in recovery efforts,” the Pennsylvania-based company said in a statement late Tuesday. “Some applications have already started to be available online again, with others expected to be restored on a permanent basis in the United States.”
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The company said it “experienced an IT security incident in the early morning hours of September 27, 2020” and as a result was forced to shut down its entire computer network, affecting patient data, laboratory systems and clinical information.

“Patient care continues to be provided safely and effectively,” the company said in a statement, adding that “there is currently no evidence of access, copying or misuse of patient or employee data.”

Dr Jonathan Rainer, a cardiologist at George Washington University Medical Center, the UHS’s acute care hospital affected by the attack, told CNN it could take several days to reset the system.
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“They proactively removed their entire network to protect the network when they detected the attack, and used these downtime protocols to keep clinical operations safe while slowly bringing the systems back into the network,” he said.

He, meanwhile, said it was a “big deal”.

Rainer said the affected facilities again used manual systems, which was once the norm, so patient safety is not an issue at all. “But it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal,” he repeated.

He said he had to cancel several surgical procedures on Tuesday, adding that it was “much more cumbersome to track patient data”.

The UHS statement said its facilities use “established backup processes, including offline documentation methods” – meaning pen and paper.

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