FBI probing virus behind outage at Medstar Health facilities

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI says it's investigating a computer virus that has crippled information systems at the major Washington-area hospital chain MedStar Health Inc.

The virus has affected Washington's Georgetown University Hospital and other medical offices in the region.

Medstar says in a statement that the virus prevented some employees from logging into systems. But it said all of its clinics remain open and functioning.

A law enforcement official says the FBI is assessing whether the virus is so-called ransomware, in which hackers extort money in exchange for returning a victim's systems to normal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to publicly discuss details about the ongoing criminal investigation.

The hospital chain said it has no evidence so far that patient information had been stolen.