Why medical devices are ripe for cyberattacks

Staff -

Hospitals aren't the only ones getting hacked. Medical devices are also vulnerable to cybersecurity issues, according to Wired.

Medical devices — such as insulin pumps, defibrillators and pacemakers — are not only common, but also easy targets. A recent survey from Trend Micro found there are more than 36,000 U.S. healthcare-related devices can be found on Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected devices.

"The entire landscape has changed," Trend Micro Chief Cybersecurity Officer Ed Cabrera told Wired. "You do get into this life or death situation potentially."

There are two primary reasons security on medical devices is important. The first is most obvious: Patients need to be protected. The second is since medical devices connect to hospital monitors, hackers could use the devices to gain access to hospital networks. Once in the network, hackers could easily launch an assault, such as a ransomware attack.

As the Wired article stresses, numerous organizations — including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology — have taken steps to ensure medical devices are more accurately assessed for vulnerabilities. But as the article notes, more efforts need to be enforced that protect medical devices.

For right now, however, the world of healthcare remains susceptible to cyberattacks. "In the meantime, the healthcare industry as a whole remain[s] exposed — as do its patients," the article concludes.

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