Sen. Barbara Boxer urges medical devices companies to detail cybersecurity plans

In a letter to chief executives of five major medical device companies, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) expressed concern over device cybersecurity and pressed the leaders to share the steps they plan to take to address vulnerabilities.

Sen. Boxer addressed the letter to Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson; John Flannery, president and CEO of GE Healthcare; Eric Spiegel, president and CEO of Siemens USA; Omar Ishrak, chairman and CEO of Medtronic and Brent Shafer, CEO of Philips North America.

In her letter, Sen. Boxer mentioned a vulnerability discovered in drug infusion pumps that would potentially allow a bad actor to manipulate the pump's drug dosage levels. She adds by the year 2020, 36 billion devices will be connected to the internet, and many of the devices will be in hospitals, presenting a significant cybersecurity and patient safety risk.

"As you know, your companies jointly control more than one-quarter of the global medical device market," Sen. Boxer wrote. "The actions your companies take to reduce medical device vulnerabilities exponentially reduce the global risk of medical device cyberattacks and send a powerful signal to the entire industry of the importance of good cybersecurity practices."

Sen. Boxer asked the leaders to respond to the letter and outline steps the companies are taking to address the growing cybersecurity threats as related to medical devices.

More articles on cybersecurity:

Maryland healthcare organizations form coalition to bolster cybersecurity
Top computer science programs overlooking cybersecurity training: 5 things to know
Cybersecurity belongs in the boardroom

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