National Guard called to help with UVM Health cyberattack recovery

A team of information technology professionals from Vermont’s National Guard has been called in to help the University of Vermont Health Network respond to a cyberattack that’s disrupted services for the past week.

The National Guard will help UVM Health Network review thousands of staff computers and devices to ensure there’s no traces of malware.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott on Wednesday announced he had ordered the state National Guard’s cyber response team to service on account of the cyberattack at UVM Health Network.

“I appreciate the work of the UVM Health Network, with support from state agencies and state and federal law enforcement, to respond quickly to this cyberattack, putting patient safety first and steadily restoring systems in a safe and secure manner,” said Gov. Phil Scott in a statement.

A cyberattack last week brought down UVM Health Network’s IT systems—including its scheduling, patient portal and its electronic health record systems—which staff are in the process of restoring. Staff at the health system in the meantime are following downtime procedures, which involves switching to paper record-keeping.

UVM Health Network is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Vermont Department of Public Safety to investigate the cyberattack.

The cyberattack comes on the heels of the FBI, HHS and the Homeland Security Department issuing a warning last week that hackers are targeting healthcare with ransomware attacks.

Universal Health Services in September disclosed what appears to be one of the largest reported healthcare cyberattacks. To contain the malware intrusion discovered Sept. 27, UHS took all of its U.S. IT networks offline; the health system wasn’t able to restore all of its systems for multiple weeks.

UVM Health Network has said it’s unsure when all of its systems will be restored.

UVM Health Network in an update Thursday said the process to review computers and devices with the National Guard is “ongoing” and is “expected to take some time.”

“The UVM Health Network continues to work around the clock to repair our system,” Dr. John R. Brumsted, president and CEO of UVM Health Network, said in a statement. “We will continue to dedicate all available resources to this response until our systems are restored.”


Tags: covid-19, pandemic

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