FDOH asks facilities to work manually amid cybersecurity breach

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) still deals with a cybersecurity breach. The department describes this as a "temporary outage," but a hacking group claims responsibility for the disruption.

The breach has left funeral homes trying to handle death certificates by hand, causing major delays and disruptions at a time when people want to grieve. Each passing day adds to the chaos, and the work piles up as funeral homes and healthcare facilities are caught near a standstill.

Cybersecurity Expert Scott Schober says large-scale cyberattacks are getting worse. "We're all vulnerable, unfortunately, but there's a lot more value in the world of health care if we think about it in a general sense because that information — it's got so much personal information."

Not every aspect of the Health Department is affected; it only has a Vital Statistics system, which it uses to issue birth, marriage, and death certificates. 

"Which is a treasure trove for hackers to grab and pull this stuff and then go perform the identity theft and phishing scams and phone scams, and the like," said Schober. "So it's a really bad situation to be in."


In 2022, Florida passed a law "prohibiting certain entities from paying or otherwise complying with a ransom demand." This includes government institutions. However, the hacking group targeting Florida’s Health Department says they'll start releasing information if the state doesn’t pay by Friday.

"Department of Health Vital Statistics hasn't really been fully transparent because they're still trying to figure out what happened here. How are they going to get back up and running fully? It's going to take some time," said Schober.

The FDOH told FOX 35 they’re working closely with funeral homes and health care facilities to get things done manually and offline, adding, "We also request support from health care facilities and physicians to expedite hand-signed death certificates. This collaboration across all partners will assist families in navigating difficult times with minimal disruption."

Schober warned that anyone could be a target for a hack, and the fight against it will last a lifetime. He recommends giving out as little personal information as possible and staying updated on the latest scams.