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UVM Heath Network cyberattack fixes expected to exceed $63M

Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 4:26 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Six weeks after a cyberattack crippled the UVM Health Network, we still don’t know who did it. But officials Tuesday said the final price tag for fixing that attack will likely exceed $63 million.

UMM Medical Center president Dr. Stephen Leffler says they’re still trying to pinpoint the exact root of the cyberattack and they’ll give more details about the investigation next week, including whether it was a ransomware attack similar to what other hospitals around the country experienced.

Leffler says the financial impacts are still being assessed, but right now the hospital is losing roughly $1.5 million per day. The attack began on October 28, so it’s been 42 days, or an estimated $63 million. That estimate includes lost revenue as well as increased expenses as a result of the cyberattack.

Leffler says the UVM Medical Center was the hardest hit hospital in the entire six-hospital UVM Health Network. He says the attack was so widespread because the system’s computers are all connected, so once the virus got into one of them it got into the entire 5,000 computers in the network. He says they are planning to decouple the parts of the network moving forward.

“The fact that at the medical center it was so widespread is really why the attack lasted so long and had such a great impact. So, there are ways to make that much much more difficult to make that happen and our team has done a lot of work on the upgrade to make it so that if something did get in, it would be isolated and contained in a much smaller number of computers,” Leffler said.

Leffler says they are also installing antivirus software in all computers in the system as a preventative measure. Hospital officials say every computer had some sort of malware protection on it before the attack, but now they are upgrading it to a more stringent software.

Leffler says hope to have a final tally for the cost of the attack in February or March.

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