By Raphael Satter
Sept 29 (Reuters) - Hospital chain Universal Health Services
has on Tuesday told employees that its network remains
offline, two days after the company fell prey to an apparent
On Monday the company, which runs some 400 hospitals and
care centers across the United States and the United Kingdom,
announced it was dealing with an "IT security issue."
UHS has provided no detail on the nature of the issue, but
experts said the outage had the hallmarks of ransomware, a breed
of malicious software that locks users out of their computers
until a digital payment is made.
A text message sent by UHS to its staff and reviewed by
Reuters said that "the corporate network remains offline." The
message provided no timetable for when computer access would be
restored and instructed some UHS employees to "please continue
to work remotely using alternative communication channels."
In a statement, UHS said that while "this matter may result
in temporary disruptions to certain aspects of our clinical and
financial operations," patient care "continues to be delivered
safely and effectively."
The statement was forwarded to Reuters by a UHS spokeswoman
using her personal email address. A message seeking further
detail was not immediately returned; emails sent to her
professional account were returned as undeliverable.
(Reporting by Raphael Satter; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)