A major hospital chain with more than 400 locations has been hit with a cyberattack – the biggest in U.S. history.
Universal Health Services’ computer systems were hit over the weekend, leaving some hospitals to file patient information with paper.
In a statement on its website, Universal Health Services said, “The IT Network across Universal Health Services (UHS) facilities is currently offline, due to an IT security issue.”
“We implement extensive IT security protocols and are working diligently with our IT security partners to restore IT operations as quickly as possible. 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,” the statement continued.
“No patient or employee data appears to have been accessed, copied, or misused.”
According to NBC News, a source said that the attack “looks and smells like ransomware.” Ransomware is a type of malware that spreads bad software across computer networks and encrypts files as hackers demand payment to decrypt them.
Hackers are known to wait until the weekend to attack computers, while big companies have less staff.
At a facility in North Dakota, a Universal Health Services nurse told NBC News that computers started slowing down and then eventually wouldn’t turn on. “As of this a.m., all the computers are down completely,” the nurse said.
Another nurse at a facility in Arizona said, “the computer just started shutting down on its own. Our medication system is all online, so that’s been difficult.”