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FBI Investigating Cyber Attack Affecting Connecticut Hospitals

The cyber attack against Waterbury Health and ECHN health systems was reported on Thursday, but the extent of the incident and details about how it was detected remained unclear as of Friday.

FBI seal Washington D.C.
(TNS) — "Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. recently experienced a data security incident that has disrupted our operations," said Nina Kruse, ECHN's vice president for communications and public affairs.

"Upon learning of this, we took our systems offline to protect them and launched an investigation with the help of third-party cybersecurity specialists," she said. "While our investigation continues, we are focused on addressing the pressing needs of our patients as we work diligently to return to normal operations as quickly as possible."

The FBI's field office in New Haven "is involved in an ongoing cyber ransomware investigation of some local medical facilities." Robert Fuller, special agent in charge of the office, said in a statement.

"We are working closely with law enforcement partners and the victim entities to address the issues," he said.

Fuller said no further information could be immediately released on Friday.

The cyberattack was reported on Thursday, but the extent of the incident and details about how it was detected remained unclear as of Friday morning.


Cyberattack caused multiple disruptions at Waterbury Health and ECHN

A spokesperson for ECHN confirmed the attack forced the emergency departments at Manchester and Rockville hospitals to close on Thursday.

Waterbury Health, which runs Waterbury Hospital, said in a Facebook post that "computer systems are down" and the disruption was affecting all Waterbury Health "inpatient and outpatient operations."

"We are in the process of reevaluating our downtime capabilities and may reschedule some appointments," the post said, posted around noon Thursday. "Affected patients will be contacted."

"Waterbury Hospital is following downtime procedures, including the use of paper records, until this is resolved," the post continued. "Patient visitation is not affected. We are working closely with IT experts to resolve it as quickly as possible."


Waterbury Health said all of its outpatient blood drawing locations would be closed on Friday.

ECHN's website listed the following locations as closed "until further notice."

  • Center for Wound Healing
  • Elective surgeries
  • Evergreen Imaging Center
  • Gastroenterology appointments & procedures
  • Outpatient Laboratories (ECHN Diagnostics)
  • Podiatry Clinic
  • Tolland Imaging Center
  • Urgent Care Center
  • Women's Center for Wellness


The disruption appeared to be a type of cyberattack known as ransomware, but the exact details remain unclear. On Thursday, officials for Waterbury Health and ECHN initially offered vague statements that "IT issues" or computer system outages were to blame for the disruption.

Kruse confirmed Thursday the closures were the result of a cybersecurity issue, but did not elaborate.


Ransomware attacks target computer systems that organizations and governments use to run everything from critical infrastructure to private companies. Typically, hackers will either gain access to a system or plant malware and then encrypt critical parts of the system, or otherwise lock out its rightful users.

The people behind the attacks may then demand money or cryptocurrency in exchange for removing the locks or not leaking sensitive data they obtained through gaining access to the system.

Such attacks have been on the rise in recent years, and often target government computer systems as well as health care systems or private companies. In 2019, such an attack crippled the city of Baltimore, preventing residents from accessing sites to pay their bills and city employees from accessing their email accounts.

A hospital system in Philadelphia was also hit Thursday by a ransomware attack, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

©2023 Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.