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UAMS shuts down information network after 'malware virus' detected

by Tony Holt | April 28, 2020 at 7:25 a.m.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Little Rock campus is shown in this file photo.

The FBI was notified of a malware incident last weekend that caused the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to shut down its information network, an agency spokesman said.

Leslie Taylor, a spokeswoman for UAMS, confirmed Monday that the hospital "temporarily deactivated" some of its systems after detecting a "malware virus."

Connor Hagan, an FBI spokesman in Little Rock, said he could not confirm whether his agency had opened an investigation, but he said agents were notified.

"We are aware of the incident and we're working with [UAMS]," he said.

Taylor said Monday that the information technology department at UAMS "traced the entry point of the virus" and is scanning all systems before bringing them back online. Portions of the systems were reactivated, and the information technology department on Monday was "working to have all systems up and running as quickly as possible," she said.

She would not specify whether the form of malware was ransomware, in which a hacker encrypts a victim's files and demands a ransom in exchange for restoring access.

"Because this is under investigation, I can't give you any more details," Taylor said. "However, I can tell you that UAMS has not paid a ransom."

Employee emails sent and received during the weekend were deleted by the malware virus, according to UAMS.

Taylor said that no data -- including patient, student or employee information -- was compromised. She added that the "server downtime" has affected patient appointments, so some of them had to be rescheduled.

Metro on 04/28/2020

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