PRMC

PALMDALE — Computer systems at Universal Health Services Inc., the parent company of Palmdale Regional Medical Center,  reportedly suffered a ransomware attack that forced some hospitals to switch to paper and pen for patient information documentation.

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to a system’s data through a rapid encryption of critical files. The attacker then demands a ransom, typically in the cryptocurrency bitcoin, to release a digital key to unlock it.

Multiple media outlets reported the attack hit the Fortune 500 company over the weekend.

Universal Health Systems did not confirm the nature of the attack in a statement posted to its website. Palmdale Regional Medical Center sent a similar statement to the Antelope Valley Press.

“The Network across Palmdale Regional Medical Center has been taken offline, due to an IT security issue,” the company said in a statement. “We implement extensive IT security protocols and are following proper procedures. We are working diligently to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we are using established offline documentation methods. No patient or employee data appears to have been accessed, copied or otherwise compromised.”

Universal Health Services did not immediately respond to requests for further comments Monday.

It has more than 400 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. The company has 90,000 employees and treated approximately 3.5 million patients last year. The company reported $11.4 billion in revenue last year.

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