Virus hits MedStar Health hospital network; denies data theft

Malware has infected computers of MedStar Health, forcing the healthcare provider to shut down large portions of its network.

A MedStar Health emergency room in Washington DC, showing that computers had been turned off following the March 28 cyberattack. (Image: submitted to ZDNet)

Hospital officials did not immediately return phone calls on Monday, but reportedly acknowledged the breach earlier in the day.

A statement by the hospital said that all facilities remain open, and that there was “no evidence of compromised information.”

A spokesperson for MedStar Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The not-for-profit healthcare system operates 10 hospitals across the Washington and Baltimore region, with more than a hundred outpatient health facilities. According to the system’s website, it has more than 31,000 employees and serves hundreds of thousands of patients annually.

One visitor to the hospital told ZDNet that staff switched the computers off after learning about the virus.

The person, who was visiting a patient in one of the healthcare system’s Washington DC hospital, said the computers were powered off for more than an hour, with all patient orders lost, the person said.

There’s a “lot of standing around,” said the person, and things have “gotten progressively worse.”

The FBI is reportedly investigating the outage, according to the Associated Press, but a spokesperson did not immediately return an email for comment.