According to a statement posted on St. Joseph's/Candler's Facebook page, hospital officials became aware of "suspicious network activity" and immediately shut down their computer systems to limit the incident's potential impact. A preliminary investigation determined that the incident involved ransomware.
The hospital system added that law enforcement had been alerted and that it would notify patients if personal or health information was accessed during the incident.
"Nothing is more important to us than continuing to provide the care our patients expect," the statement continued. "Patient care operations continue at our facilities using established back-up processes and other downtime procedures. Our physicians, nurses and staff are trained to provide care in these types of situations and are committed to doing everything they can to mitigate disruption and provide uninterrupted care to our patients."
"We thank our patients for their patience during this time and apologize for any delays they may experience as we continue to work diligently to address this situation," the statement concluded.
Savannah Morning News reported that St. Joseph's/Candler's computer downtime and back-up processes have extended into Monday, resulting in doctors and nurses continuing to resort to old-fashioned paper records in some cases for five straight days.
"While we continue to investigate the incident, we’re working to get systems up and running as quickly and as safely as possible," spokesperson Scott Larson said in a statement, according to the outlet. "Our priority is patient care, and our staff are committed to doing everything they can to mitigate disruption and provide uninterrupted care to our patients."
Larson reportedly said individuals with appointments for imaging surgery, primary care, specialty physician practices or any other outpatient procedure would be contacted if their appointment needs to be rescheduled for any reason. Meanwhile, cancer care patients are advised to contact their doctors directly to check on the status of appointments and procedures.
A representative for St. Joseph's/Candler did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment.
The attack came one day after President Biden's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 16. The FBI has attributed high-profile ransomware attacks against the Colonial Pipeline and the world's largest meat producer, JBS, to Russian hacker groups.
However, Putin has denied his country's involvement in the recent wave of cyberattacks against U.S. companies. He claimed that the majority of cyberattacks across the world have been carried out by the U.S., Canada, "Latin American countries" and the U.K. before Russia, citing "American sources."
"We face the same threats. For example, there was an attack on the public healthcare system of a large region in the Russian Federation," the Russian president said of cyberattacks in his country. "Of course, we see where the attacks are coming from, and we see that these activities are coordinated from U.S. cyberspace. I do not think that the United States, official U.S. authorities, are interested in this kind of manipulation."
"What we need to do is discard all the conspiracy theories, sit down at the expert level and start working in the interests of the United States and the Russian Federation," Putin continued. "In principle, we have agreed to this, and Russia is willing to do so."
Other victims of cyberattacks this year include New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Law Department, the Massachusetts Steamship Authority, truck maker Navistar, McDonald's, Electronic Arts, and Department of Energy subcontractor Sol Oriens.