THE VILLAGES, Fla. — UF Health hospitals says it had to take drastic measures after their systems were hit by a cyber attack.

What You Need To Know

  • UF Health says it detected unusual computer activity and moved to protect its systems

  • Does not believe any patient or personnel records were compromised

  • UF Health is taking other measures while it investigates the cybersecurity event, including paper documentation

Workers at the hospital system, which includes UF Health Leesburg and UF Health The Villages Hospital, detected unusual computer activity on May 31, which was related to a "cybersecurity event."

The hospital system locked down patient information immediately, and does not believe any patient or personnel records were compromised. 

While information technology experts are investigating what happened, the hospital system is taking extra steps so staff can continue working without interruption. 

The hospital has suspended access to most system platforms, including email, is requiring paper documentation at hospitals and clinics, and suspended all computer connections between UF Health Central Florida and the other UF Health campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville.

It's not known yet when UF Health will be able to reopen access to all its systems, but says it is working to shift everything back as soon as possible, once the cybersecurity event is fully investigated.

It's not known yet what sort of cybersecurity event was discovered. 

Back in October, the FBI and other security agencies warned of a wave of ransomware attacks planned to disrupt the country's health care systems. Attacks hit several hospital systems last fall, including Universal Health Services, which has health care facilities throughout the Central Florida area.

In a ransomware attack, computer data is scrambled and can only be unlocked by a code that the perpetrator has. That perpetrator then ransoms the code for money.

This sort of attack hit the Colonial Fuel Pipeline earlier this year, along with JBS meat processing this week. 

Again, it is not known yet whether the cybersecurity event with UF Health was an attempted ransomware attack.  


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