Funeral homes, hospitals manually filing birth and death certificates due to apparent cyber-attack

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida funeral directors are jumping through hoops to help families settle their loved one’s affairs after an apparent cyber-attack on the Florida Department of Health shut down the system used to process birth and death certificates.


Cameron Naugle, Director of Naugle Funeral Home in San Marco, was first made aware of the issues at the Florida Department of Health on June 27th.

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“We got notification from the State of Florida that their servers would be going down temporarily for maintenance,” said Naugle.

But nearly two weeks later, the online systems used to process birth and death certificates are still down, due to what the department has called a “possible cyber incident”.

Naugle, who also serves as the President of the Independent Funeral Directors of Florida, said it has forced funeral directors and hospitals to go back to paper processing.

For funeral homes, that means longer wait times for families attempting to settle their loved one’s affairs.

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“Financial stuff like close their accounts at banks, file for insurance policies they may have, transfer car titles. So many things are bound up by that death certificate,” said Naugle.

Additionally, Naugle worries if death records that were already on file were compromised in the apparent cyber-attack, sensitive personal information could now be in the hands of cybercriminals.

“When you get a credit card the things they’re going to ask are your mother’s maiden name. So, both your parents’ names are on death certificates, your Social Security number, date of birth,” said Naugle.

Naugle just said it’s his hope the issues are solved sooner rather than later.

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“The main concern for any director is to make your family feel comfortable and let them know how things are progressing and we’re kind of in limbo ourselves because this is uncharted territory and we just don’t know,” said Naugle.

Naugle said he’s been told the system could be back up within the next few days, but if the old system was too badly compromised, it could take weeks to rebuild a new one.

Action News Jax reached out to the Department of Health and received the statement below.

DOH Statement:

“The Florida Department of Health (Department) is working diligently to resolve the temporary outage impacting the online Vital Statistics system. To facilitate continued operations of death certificates, the Department has worked closely with funeral homes and healthcare facilities to implement offline procedures during this period. These instructions have been provided to all licensed funeral directors statewide. In addition, all county health departments have been provided the necessary resources to issue death certificates offline during this time.”

“We also request the support from healthcare facilities and physicians to expedite hand-signed death certificates. This collaboration across all partners will assist families in navigating difficult times with minimal disruption.”

“We are working around the clock to restore the online Vital Statistics system,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “The majority of Department operations and services remain operational and unchanged.”

“County health departments remain able to issue copies of birth certificates for individuals born before June 28, 2024. For births on or after this date, the Department is working with hospitals to continue manual processing of birth certificates. For families seeking assistance, all county health departments are prepared to provide guidance and support. Locate your local county health department at: FloridaHealth.gov. For questions and concerns regarding Vital Statistics services, please call 1-866-295-5902.”

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