Blood test biz LabCorp pulls plug on systems over hacker fears

US medical testing giant says no evidence of data theft after alarms triggered

Medical biz LabCorp shut down some of its systems last week after it detected "suspicious activity" on its network.

A company spokesperson told The Register that, contrary to early claims the "entire network" was shut down and "millions" of records swiped, only its Diagnostics service was affected – the Covance pharmaceutical operation remained untouched, apparently – and so far there is no indication any medical records were accessed or stolen.

"During the weekend of July 14, 2018, LabCorp detected suspicious activity on its information technology network. LabCorp immediately took certain systems offline as part of its comprehensive response to contain the activity. This temporarily affected test processing and customer access to test results over the weekend," LabCorp's spokespeople told us.

"Work has been ongoing to restore full system functionality as quickly as possible, testing operations have substantially resumed today, and we anticipate that additional systems and functions will be restored throughout the next several days. Some customers of LabCorp Diagnostics may experience brief delays in receiving results as we complete that process."

LabCorp, based in Burlington, North Carolina, said it has notified the authorities, and intends to cooperate in any investigation.

Unless new developments take a turn for the worse, the intrusion will be a bullet dodged for LabCorp, which operates a nationwide string of health, forensics, and genetics-specialized testing facilities.

The health firm runs small test facilities in cities around the US. If, for example, your doctor orders a cholesterol test or liver panel, chances are you go to a small LabCorp facility to get your blood drawn. The company employs about 60,000 people and its annual revenues last year were $10.3bn.

Needless to say, the biz has a vast number of personal health records and test results to manage – and potentially lose control of. ®

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