(Reuters) – The hospital chain Universal Health Services Inc.'s network remains offline on Tuesday, two days after the company fell victim to a blatant ransomware attack, it told employees via text.
On Monday, the operator of about 400 hospitals and health centers across the United States and the United Kingdom announced in a statement that they were dealing with an "IT security issue."
UHS has not provided any details, but experts said the outage had the hallmarks of ransomware, a breed of malware that locks users from their computers until a digital payment is made.
The text message that Reuters saw, "the corporate network remains offline" and did not provide a timetable for when computer access would be restored. It instructed some employees to "continue working remotely using alternative communication channels." in time, an employee said, noting that some were upset and shouted at nurses.
"In a psychiatric ward, it is very problematic," the employee said on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "Psychiatric patients need their medication. It causes a lot of tension and stress. "
UHS spokeswoman Jane Crawford said in an email that Cedar Hills Hospital used" a shutdown protocol that allows us to handle medications manually "and that prescriptions for discharged patients are written down on
" We are convinced that we can and will continue to meet our patients' needs, "she said.
In a statement released earlier on Tuesday, Crawford acknowledged that "this issue could lead to temporary disruption to certain aspects of our clinical and financial operations."
She forwarded the emails to Reuters using her personal email e-mail address; e-mails sent to her professional account were returned as undeliverable.