A month after cyberattack, Chicago children's hospital says some systems are back online

FILE - Lurie Children's Hospital logo is seen at the hospital, Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, in Skokie, Ill. Doctors and nurses at the premier Chicago children's hospital can again access patients' electronic medical records, more than a month after a cyberattack forced Lurie Children's Hospital to take its networks offline. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — Doctors and nurses at a premier Chicago children’s hospital can again access patients’ electronic medical records, more than a month after a cyberattack forced Lurie Children’s Hospital to take its networks offline.

The hospital provided the update Monday and said its phone system also is fully functioning.

Officials had previously blamed the attack on a “known criminal threat actor” and said the hospital shut down its own systems for phone, email and medical records once the breach was discovered on Jan. 31.

The situation at Lurie Children’s Hospital had all the hallmarks of a ransomware attack, although hospital officials have not confirmed or denied the cause. Such extortion-style attacks are popular among ransomware gangs seeking financial gain by locking data, records or other critical information, and then demanding money to release it back to the owner.

The FBI has said it is investigating.

Hospitals are an appealing target for attackers who know their reliance on online technology.

Lurie Children’s treated around 260,000 patients last year.

The statement released Monday said that a portal letting patients and parents access medical records and send messages to providers, called MyChart, remains offline.

“As an academic medical center, our systems are highly complex and, as a result, the restoration process takes time,” the statement said. “Working closely with our internal and external experts, we are following a careful process as we work towards full restoration of our systems, which includes verifying and testing each system before we bring them back online.”