The rise of medical device vulnerabilities: 5 things to know

The number of reported vulnerabilities for medical devices and other technologies has more than doubled since 2016, with more than 1,302 flaws registered in 2018, according to SF Gate.

Five things to know:

1. Specifically, with medical devices, the number of vulnerabilities reported in the past fiscal year (29) is more than the combined total of vulnerabilities reported in the past five years.

2. The influx in vulnerabilities can be attributed to the lack of data sharing that goes on between medical device manufacturers, SF Gate reports. While uncommon to share proprietary information, disclosing private data may help improve cybersecurity efforts.

"When you sell a device to a hospital, there needs to be a plan in place for how you're going to keep it updated; how you're going to address the new vulnerabilities that come out to it," David Beard, chief technology officer at Promenade Software, told SF Gate. "For many years, it hasn't been [in the plans for device makers]."

3. Large medical developers have become targets for hackers as their devices becoming more connected to the internet, computer security expert Jim Margolis of Margolis Technologies told local ABC affiliate WPBF.

4. Devices can be more prone to being targeted in cyberattacks because default passwords tend to be left on internet-connected devices, Mr. Margolis said. Additionally, staff at medical device companies are not always trained to spot phishing emails, putting devices and the company at risk.

5. Christian Dameff, MD, a hacker expert and emergency medicine physician at UC San Diego School of Medicine, said there is too much emphasis on protecting patient data rather than protecting patient care.

More articles on cybersecurity:

Oregon State Hospital alerts patients of phishing attack
Memorial Hermann employee 'improperly' used patients' credit card info
First cybercrime hotline unveiled in Rhode Island

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