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Cyberattack stymies families seeking funeral arrangements

Published on July 9, 2024 at 9:54 am

A recent cyberattack at the Florida Department of Health is causing problems for families trying to make funeral arrangements.

The Florida Department of Health confirmed that a group of ransom thieves hacked the state’s Vital Statistics System, which is used to process birth and death certificates.

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Thomas Griffin Jr. works at Strong & Jones Funeral Home in Tallahassee. He told WFSU on Monday that the attack has kept families from receiving burial services.

“We can’t accommodate the families at this time period as far as what they need done to accomplish insurance policies and things of that nature,” Griffin explained. “A lot of stuff you can’t get done without a certified copy of the death certificate.”

The Florida Department of Health does not know when the system will be back up and running. The department is coordinating with law enforcement and all “relevant stakeholders” to address the issue.

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In the meantime, some funeral homes in Florida have postponed services entirely or had to physically visit a health care provider to get a signed copy of a death certificate.

Griffin says it’s been this way for two weeks.

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Adrian Andrews is a multimedia journalist with WFSU Public Media. He is a Gadsden County native and a first-generation college graduate from Florida A&M University. Adrian is also a military veteran, ending his career as a Florida Army National Guard Non-Comissioned Officer. Adrian has experience in print writing, digital content creation, documentary and film production. He has spent the last four years on the staff of several award-winning publications such as The Famuan, Gadsden County News Corp. and Cumulus Media before joining the WFSU news team.

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