Univ. of Iowa Hospitals website possibly hit by cyberattack

Russian hacking group "Killnet" has claimed to have taken down the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic's website.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 2:54 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A Russian hacking group has claimed to have taken down the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics website, along with the websites of dozens of other hospitals nationwide.

UIHC has acknowledged its website is down Tuesday afternoon and its IT staff is investigating the cause but could not confirm whether it was the result of a cyberattack.

However, Better Cyber, a cyber security company that monitors attacks worldwide, included UIHC in a list of sites taken down by the Russian group “KillNet”. It said the group is targeting hospitals and medical facilities nationwide. It’s unclear if any of the attacks would hamper hospital operations or expose patient data.

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services warned hospitals nationwide of a threat from the pro-Russian hacking group KillNet targeting healthcare facilities. It said the group used DDoS attacks, which basically flood a computer server with data to clog its operation and prevent it from accessing the internet. The warning notes that the Department of Justice recently targeted DDoS websites and that may create motive for counter attacks from cyber groups like KillNet.

“While KillNet’s DDoS attacks usually do not cause major damage, they can cause service outages lasting several hours or even days,” the HHS warning stated.

Tuesday afternoon, UIHC released the following statement regarding the situation with the public websites:

The public websites of University of Iowa Health Care continue to be down: UI Hospitals & Clinics, UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, and the Carver College of Medicine. Our information technology (IT) team continues to investigate the issue. These websites do not contain patient data or information. Patient care is not affected by these outages. If you need to book an appointment, please call 800-777-8442 or visit your MyChart account.

UPDATE: The website is back up and running.