CHICAGO (CBS) — Frustrations are growing for families dealing with the network outage at Lurie Children’s Hospital. It has been five days now. The cyber security attack took all computers, internet and phones offline, making access to care and critical information inaccessible.
In the last five days, no patients have been able to go to their scheduled appointments, and now many are 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 cyber attacks, which means malware or attackers, cyber adversaries getting into the system and wreaking havoc,” said Robin Berthier, the co-founder of Network Perception.
The outage has crippled all access to computers, internet and phones, causing cancellations of elective surgeries and procedures.
Berthier says this attack is different because it is not on a traditional IT system.
“This is a different. The life of people is actually at play,” he said.
Some patients have expressed their concern and frustration over social media. One mother said her son has been a regular at Lurie’s after an October eye injury.
While trying to schedule a new appointment, all communication was lost as a result of the cyber attack. No appointment was scheduled.
“There is a different concern around data leakage when its happening with healthcare data,” Berthier said.
The short term goal is to get the critical systems back in operation.
“And then long term to do an investigation and invest in the right set of cyber security control to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Berthier.
Law enforcement is working with the hospital and suggests not to pay the ransom if asked. The hospital has set up a call center for patients with requests and questions and information regarding scheduled appointments and prescription refills.
CBS 2 also reached out to Northwestern Medicine, which says it is now taking necessary precautions to prevent this from happening to its system.