Cyberattack Forces Major Healthcare System to Return to Pen and Paper

Weekend healthcare cyberattack is likely the largest in the history of the United States

On Monday, September 28, 2020, Universal Health Services (UHS), a Fortune 500 company that provides medical services throughout the United States and the United Kingdom to millions of patients every year, informed the public at 10:45 a.m. via an online statement that it had suffered a computer systems failure in the U.S. over the weekend. Although the company initially claimed that it was an “IT security issue,” several sources have reported that it is an ongoing ransomware cyberattack that has left UHS employees at hundreds of locations unable to access patient files and other important medical information and equipment.

What Is a Ransomware Attack?

Cybercriminals find a way to access a computer system, and then lock it down to prevent the system administrator and other users from accessing their files. The malicious software, or malware, that they use encrypts everything and sends a message to the victims telling them that they must pay a ransom to the cybercriminals or suffer serious consequences. Most cybercriminals promise that they will return control of locked systems once they’re paid, but they don’t always keep that promise. Sometimes they release some or all of any private information on these computer systems to the internet. They usually wait until weekends to launch attacks because many companies reduce their staff, including cybersecurity staff, on weekends.

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