UK, US hospital computers are down, early unofficial diagnosis is a suspected outbreak of Ryuk ransomware

UK, US hospital computers are down, early unofficial diagnosis is a suspected outbreak of Ryuk ransomware

Universal Health Services, which operates over 400 hospitals and healthcare facilities in the US, Puerto Rico, and the UK, said on Monday that its IT network was offline due to an unspecified cybersecurity issue.


"We implement extensive IT security protocols and are working diligently with our IT security partners to restore IT operations as quickly as possible," the biz said in a statement. "In the meantime, our facilities are using their established back-up processes including offline documentation methods."


UHS insists patient care continues to be delivered and that "no patient or employee data appears to have been accessed, copied or otherwise compromised."


A UHS spokesperson declined to provide further details or to comment on unsubstantiated claims made via social media suggesting the involvement of the Ryuk ransomware family.


Unidentified individuals posting to Reddit who claim to be affiliated with UHS facilities in Arizona, California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania say the IT outage has affected their workplace. Such claims may also represent efforts by short sellers to influence stock prices, although UHS' share price has only declined slightly.


The Register has put in calls to several UHS facilities around the US but has not heard back from anyone in a position to confirm details about the nature of the IT outage or the number of facilities affected.


“There’s no doubt that an outage of this magnitude affects patient safety and care," said Tim Erlin, VP, product management and strategy at Tripwire, in response to an email from The Register. "This is a high stakes targ ..