CHICAGO, IL – Lurie Children’s Hospital is currently grappling with a network outage that has disrupted phone services, email systems, internet connectivity, and even medical equipment reliant on computers. The hospital is currently investigating a cyber security issue that has significantly impacted its operations for the past two days. This cyber security matter has not only affected the hospital’s main campus but has also extended to its outpatient centers and primary care offices.
Maurice Dawson, director at the IIT Center for Cyber Security and Education, highlighted the evolving nature of modern warfare, emphasizing the potential for cyber attacks to be launched from anywhere using just a computer and keyboard. He underscored the seriousness of the situation and the need for swift action to resolve the matter and restore normal operations at the hospital. Lurie Children’s Hospital has assured the public that it is actively working to address the cyber security issue, collaborating with law enforcement agencies and enlisting the support of leading experts in the field.
The impact of the network outage extends beyond communication systems, affecting elective surgeries and procedures, which have had to be postponed. Cyber security experts have noted the increasing frequency of such attacks, with hospitals becoming prime targets due to their relative vulnerability compared to other institutions. Their valuable store of patient information makes them attractive targets for hackers seeking to exploit this sensitive data for profit.
Lurie Children’s Hospital has taken the proactive step of shutting down its network systems as part of its response to the cyber security issue and continues to cooperate with law enforcement to investigate the matter. The road to recovery from cyber attacks can be lengthy, often requiring several days to restore affected systems. The reliance on email systems in hospitals has been identified as a potential vulnerability, with experts cautioning against the risks posed by unsuspecting clicks on malicious links.
In the meantime, medical staff at the hospital have reverted to traditional methods of documentation and prescription writing, and there have been delays in the processing of test results. The hospital is working diligently to minimize the inconvenience to patient families and community providers, emphasizing its commitment to resolving the situation as quickly and effectively as possible.