Virus knocks Erie County Medical Center offline for days

By Jessica Davis
12:59 PM
While officials declined to say whether the attack was ransomware, the hack returned the Buffalo-based provider to pencil and paper.
 Erie County Medical Center hacked

The entire computer system of Buffalo-based Erie County Medical Center and its Long-Term Care at Terrace View facility was shut down early April 9, after a virus was detected on the system.

While it was primarily the email system hit with a virus, ECMC took the whole system offline to prevent spreading the virus, officials said in a statement. As of Thursday morning, parts of the computer system were still offline.

Hospital officials wouldn’t comment if the virus was ransomware.

[Also: New ransomware spotted as targeting healthcare industry]

The hospital reached out to state police cybersecurity investigators shortly after the breach was discovered, and the FBI has joined the ongoing investigation. ECMC’s IT team is working with investigators to restore the systems, which is expected to take a number of days.

The email system is still down, but other systems and its website are now back online.

The hospital continues to accept patients and nursing home residents, and officials said the breach hasn’t affected care. ECMC’s staff manually admitted patients, filled prescriptions and scheduled exams, during the system downtime.

Officials said all patient data and essential information is backed up by the hospital, including human resources and financial information.

“Our priority is maintaining patient safety and quality services,” officials said. “All hospital operations are continuing as normal and have not been interrupted. The hospital's email system, however, is not functioning, so all inquiries should be directed to 898-5500."

Twitter: @JessiefDavis