A major hospital chain has been hit by what appears to be one of the largest medical cyberattacks in United States history, NBC News reports.
Computer systems for Universal Health Services, which has more than 400 locations, primarily in the U.S., began to fail over the weekend, and some hospitals have had to resort to filing patient information with pen and paper, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
Universal Health Services did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but posted a statement to its website that its company-wide network “is currently offline, due to an IT security issue." One person familiar with the company’s response efforts who was not authorized to speak to the press said that the attack “looks and smells like ransomware.”
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that spreads across computer networks, encrypting files and demanding payment for a key to decrypt them.