WASHINGTON (AP) Modern medicine in the Washington area reverted to 1960s-era paper systems when one of the largest hospital chains was crippled by a virus that shuttered its computers for patients and medical staff.
The FBI said it was investigating the paralyzing attack on MedStar Health Inc., which forced records systems offline, prevented patients from booking appointments, and left staff unable to check email messages or even look up phone numbers.
A law enforcement official, who declined to be identified because the person was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the FBI was assessing whether a similar situation occurred at MedStar.
Dr. Richard Alcorta, the medical director for Maryland's emergency medical services network, said he suspects it was a ransomware attack based on multiple ransomware attempts on individual hospitals in the state.
Computer security of the hospital industry is generally regarded as poor, and the federal Health and Human Services Department regularly publishes a list of health care providers that have been hacked with patient information stolen.