Hospital networks restored after cyberattack

Valley Health System computer networks were restored Monday in the Las Vegas Valley, two weeks after after a cyberattack struck Universal Health Services medical facilities across the country.

“All six Valley Health System hospitals are online again, using the electronic medical records, lab and pharmacy applications,” said Valley Health System spokeswoman Gretchen Papez.

Universal Health Services, which operates Valley Heath System, said it shut down computer networks across the U.S. following a cyberattack on Sept. 27. UHS operates more than 400 hospitals and clinical care facilities across the U.S. and United Kingdom. Only U.S. facilities were affected, according to the company.

UHS said it resorted to using “established back-up processes including offline documentation methods.” One clinician in Washington, D.C., told The Associated Press that the loss of computer access meant that medical personnel could not easily see lab results, imaging scans, medication lists and other critical pieces of information that doctors rely on to make decisions.

Valley Health System facilities include Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center, Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, Henderson Hospital, Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center, Summerlin Hospital Medical Center and Valley Hospital Medical Center.

Other hospitals in the Las Vegas Valley said they had seen an influx of patients as a result of the Valley Health System’s networks being down.

In a statement Monday, UHS said that its U.S. hospitals “are resuming normal operations.” The majority of its behavioral health facilities also were back online.

UHS, a Fortune 500 company with 90,000 employees, said it had “no indication that any patient or employee data was accessed, copied or misused.”

The attack was a suspected ransomware attack, in which hackers infect networks with malicious code that scrambles data and then demand payment to restore services.

UHS did not confirm that it was a ransomware attack or say whether

Tyngsborough schools investigate cyberattack – The Boston Globe

A cyberattack at Tynsgborough’s middle and high schools cut Internet service to students this week, and officials have hired an outside company to identify the source of the attack, the school department said.

The outages impacted the two schools located on the district’s Norris Road campus. The school department’s info tech team has determined the outage was not caused internally or through the district’s Internet provider, Superintendent Michael Flanagan said in a statement.

Instead, officials believe the outage was caused by an outside device brought into school buildings either unwittingly or intentionally, the statement said.

Northeast Technology, an IT solutions company in Danvers, has been hired to identify the source of the attack. The town’s police department is also investigating.

The town’s elementary school was not impacted by the attack.

The school district has been operating in a hybrid mode this year, offering a mix of in-person and remote learning for students.

Flanagan said he is “frustrated” and “disappointed” by the attack’s disruption on learning. “We have all pulled together and worked so hard to create a positive learning environment in spite of the challenges and disruptions of the COVID pandemic,” he said.

“While we are confident that we will soon rectify this situation, I am upset for the difficulty and disruption this has caused our students, families, and staff,” Flanagan said.

Students and teachers at both schools worked remotely on Friday and are off Monday due to a school holiday, the statement said. Officials hope in school learning can resume on Tuesday.


Adam Sennott can be reached at [email protected]

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UHS Computer Systems, Employees Left In The Lurch After Cyberattack

The health giant’s network remained shut down as of Tuesday. Health workers say the outage has made communicating difficult and that they are using paper records and hand-labeling medications. The Wall Street Journal said some ambulances have been re-routed and elective surgeries canceled.


Becker’s Hospital Review:
Employees Describe Chaotic Scene At UHS Hospitals Amid IT Incident


The attack began on Sept. 27, and one nurse told CNBC the computers slowly stopped working. The health system issued a statement on Sept. 28 acknowledging an “IT security issue” and noted its facilities turned to downtime protocols. Employees are now stepping forward to describe the scene inside facilities. A Washington-based clinician working in a UHS facility said medical staff couldn’t easily see lab results, imaging scans and medication lists to make treatment decisions, according to a CBS News report. The facility also reverted to hand-delivering lab orders and phone issues made it challenging for care team communication. “These things are life or death,” the clinician said. (Dyrda, 9/29)

In other stories about IT issues —


Modern Healthcare:
HHS To Track EHR Use Among Office-Based Physicians


HHS is launching an effort to measure health information technology adoption and use among office-based physicians, the department said Tuesday. The initiative will gather national-level data on office-based physicians’ use of health IT systems, including their experiences with interoperability and administrative burden. HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology plans to use the program’s findings to inform future policy decisions. (Cohen, 9/29)

Cyberattack hobbles major hospital chain’s US facilities



FILE - In this March 14, 2014, file photo, a representative of GCHQ points to a screen showing all the teams progress in completing the task during a mock cyberattack scenario with teams of amateur computer experts taking part and trying to fight this simulated attack in London. Computer systems across a major hospital chain operating in the U.S. and Britain were down Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, due to what the company termed an unspecified technology “security issue.” Universal Health Services Inc., which operates more than 400 hospitals and other clinical care facilities, said in a short statement p osted to its website Monday that its network was offline and doctors and nurses were resorting to “back-up processes” including paper records. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this March 14, 2014, file photo, a representative of GCHQ points to a screen showing all the teams progress in completing the task during a mock cyberattack scenario with teams of amateur computer experts taking part and trying to fight this simulated attack in London. Computer systems across a major hospital chain operating in the U.S. and Britain were down Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, due to what the company termed an unspecified technology “security issue.” Universal Health Services Inc., which operates more than 400 hospitals and other clinical care facilities, said in a short statement p osted to its website Monday that its network was offline and doctors and nurses were resorting to “back-up processes” including paper records. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A computer outage at a major hospital chain thrust healthcare facilities across the U.S. into chaos Monday, with treatment impeded as doctors and nurses already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic were forced to rely on paper backup systems.

Universal Health Services Inc., which operates more than 250 hospitals and other clinical facilities in the U.S., blamed the outage on an unspecified IT “security issue” in a statement posted to its website Monday but provided no details about the incident, such as how many facilities were affected and whether patients had to be diverted to other hospitals.

UHS workers reached by The Associated Press at company facilities in Texas and Washington, D.C. described mad scrambles after the outage began overnight Sunday to render care, including longer emergency room waits and anxiety over determining which patients might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Fortune 500 company, with 90,000 employees, said “patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively” and no patient or employee data appeared

Flight-tracking website hit by new cyber-attack



a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky


© PA Media


Popular real-time flight-tracking website Flightradar24 was hit by a cyber-attack that knocked out access to its services for hours.

The attack is the third the company has suffered in two days, it said.

Early attempts to restore the site failed, with “significant instability due to the sustained attacks”, it said.

It did not say exactly what kind of attack it had experienced, but said it hit “the availability of our services” but not user data.

The site appeared to be improving on Tuesday, with intermittent loading errors.

The website allows users to track planes – both commercial passenger flights and private ones – in mid-air, following flight paths live.

https://twitter.com/flightradar24/status/1310661019405086720

Flightradar24 says it has about two million users and tracks 180,000 flights every day. It includes aircraft manufacturers – such as Airbus and Boeing – among its customers.

Its tools can identify a plane’s model, flight number, and distress signal codes, among an array of other advanced features, some of which are locked behind a subscription payment.

Such tools make the website, and its competitors, a valuable tool for plane-watchers and for journalists covering accidents and other airline incidents.

That has led to some trouble for pilots, caught in the act of spelling out words, drawing phallic images, or – in a less controversial example, illustrating a giant Christmas tree with their flight paths.

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