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Universal Health Services offline due to 'IT security issue'

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By Raphael Satter

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Universal Health Services Inc said on Monday that its network has been knocked offline following an unspecified "IT security issue."

The company, which runs some 400 hospitals and care centers across the United States and the United Kingdom, did not respond to emails seeking further details about the incident.

In a brief statement posted to the company's website, UHS said it was working to restore its network using backups. It was not clear if the issue involved a ransomware attack, which is often employed to cripple organizations by holding their data hostage.

"Our facilities are using their established back-up processes including offline documentation methods," UHS said in a statement, adding that patient care "continues to be delivered safely and effectively."

The company said no patient or employee data appeared to have been "accessed, copied or otherwise compromised." (Reporting by Raphael Satter Editing by Bill Berkrot)