CHICAGO (CBS) — The FBI confirmed on Wednesday that it is investigating a “cybersecurity incident” that has caused a weeklong network outage at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“FBI Chicago is aware of the recent cybersecurity incident affecting Lurie Children’s Hospital and is utilizing all available investigative tools and resources to provide assistance. As always, our attention remains on ensuring the safety of our citizens and our nation’s critical infrastructure. There is no additional information available for release at this time,” the FBI said in a statement on Wednesday, one week after the attack on Jan. 31.
Last Wednesday, Lurie officials said a “cybersecurity incident” prompted the hospital to take its network systems offline, including its phones, email, and electronic records.
The hospital has not specifically called what happened a cybersecurity attack, but the outage has led to Lurie cancelling elective surgeries and procedures. While the hospital has said patients should still show up for scheduled appointments unless they hear otherwise from their doctor, many patients have been left frustrated, unable to reach the hospital through its main phone lines, and many awaiting a call for when their children can return to get the care they need.
“Hospitals and pretty much everything we rely on nowadays depends on computers, and servers and cloud services. And those can be disrupted by cyberattacks, which means malware or attackers, cyber adversaries getting into the system and wreaking havoc,” said Robin Berthier, the co-founder of Network Perception.
Berthier said this incident is different because it is not on a traditional IT system.
“The life of people is actually at play,” he said.
Lurie has provided minimal updates on the situation since Wednesday, leaving it unclear when their network systems will be back online.
In their most recent update on Monday evening, the hospital said the investigation remains ongoing, and they are “working around the clock to resolve this matter.”
“We acknowledge the inconvenience and concern this system outage causes for our patient families, team members, and community providers,” the hospital said in a statement on its social media pages. “Please understand this process takes time and know that we have highly experienced, capable, and empathetic teams responding to this matter.”
Lurie has set up a call center for patients with requests or questions about appointments, prescription refills, and other concerns: 1-800-KIDS-DOC (1-800-543-7362). The call center is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. When the call center is closed, patients can contact the main operator at 312-227-4000.