Cybersecurity experts from the Vt. National Guard help UVM Health Network

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 3:39 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 5, 2020 at 7:28 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Cybersecurity experts from the Vermont National Guard are helping the UVM Health Network get its systems back online.

Officials say in the attack last week, different pieces of the network were encrypted or damaged and malware flooded the system. But they say they don’t have to rebuild the network.

“It’s not like the whole network was destroyed or impacted in that kind of way, it’s that different pieces of it were encrypted and/or damaged by the attack. Almost most importantly, there’s virus or malware throughout our entire system that we have to clean. We have to fix the damage, we have to decrypt things that have been encrypted and then we have to clean the system before we can stand it back up. There’s a fair amount of repair work to do but eliminating the virus is a huge task,” said Al Gobeille of the UVM Health Network.

We are told that patient records are safe and not lost.

“If you think about it like your iPhone, our patient records are in the applications that sit on your iPhone. Those are separate and sealed off. The problems that we are fixing are what you would think of as the platform of your iPhone,” said Gobeille.

The network says this is impacting patients and it is doing what it can to get the systems back online.

They expects some appointment schedules won’t be able to be accessed starting Thursday.

If you have an appointment, officials ask for your patience and understanding that employees will likely be not as efficient as usual.

“The most important thing for people to know is that the ED is open and functioning well. If they have an emergency, they should go to the emergency department, they should not hesitate. If they have a regular clinic visit they should try to contact their clinic, if they have an appointment, and not heard it was canceled, they should attend their normal appointment. They should expect us to be a little disorganized, honestly, and not as efficient as we are when all the software systems are on but they should go for that care,” said Gobeille.

They also ask that you bring any prior medical information with you.

Click here for the website the network has set up for patients to get the latest details about the impacts of the breach on each facility.

The Guard’s cyber response team will help the network review its thousands of computers and devices. It’s looking to make sure they do not have any malware or viruses on them.

The attack affected all six of the network’s hospitals and forced them to cancel or postpone some visits and procedures.

The FBI is investigating the attack. Still no word on who was behind the breach or whether it was connected to attacks at other health care facilities across the country.

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