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Major Florida hospital hit by possible ransomware attack

Major Florida hospital hit by possible ransomware attack
A sign stands outside Tallahassee Memorial Hospital on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. The major hospital system in northern Florida said Friday it is diverting some emergency room patients and canceling surgeries after a security problem with information technology. Credit: AP Photo/Anthony Izaguirre

A major hospital system in northern Florida said Friday it is diverting some emergency room patients and canceling surgeries after a security problem with information technology.

Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare said the issue began effecting its systems late Thursday night and has forced the hospital to shut down its IT network.

It had the hallmarks of a ransomware attack, but the hospital has not yet characterized it as such, instead calling it an "IT security issue." Victims often at least initially decline to confirm ransomware attacks.

The hospital said in a statement that it was diverting some emergency room patients, and rescheduling non-emergency patient appointments through Monday. It said it is not moving patients currently in the hospital to other facilities.

Patients will be contacted directly if their appointments are affected, spokeswoman Tori Lynn Schneider said in a statement.

It was unclear when systems would fully return online. The hospital said it has been working with law enforcement.

The hospital, headquartered in Tallahassee, provides health care across 21 counties in northern Florida and southern Georgia, according to its website.

Cybersecurity firm Emsisoft said there were 25 ransomware attacks involving hospitals or hospital systems last year.

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