Malware and ransomware attack on Medical Devices

    Cybersecurity in the healthcare environment has turned into a serious issue these days, especially when medical devices are being hacked and used to intercept company networks. And if near future is taken into account then the said cyber threat is going to deteriorate when IoT takes on the healthcare sector with more and more health devices getting connected to the internet.

    On a recent note, a study conducted by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives(CHIME) discovered that at least 20% of medical device manufacturers have so far experienced their devices being subjected to ransomware and malware attacks in the past 20 months.

    So, cyber securing medical devices should be a priority for all companies in the healthcare industry. However, this is not an easy task to accomplish for the manufacturers as it requires a lot of support- especially when the use of IoT devices is growing on an exponential note.

    CHIME research says that often the blame goes on manufacturers for showing laxity in producing medical devices with utmost security skills. And the reason these companies say is lack of resources which is leading to data breaches along with device-related security issues.

    Nonetheless, not all is bad in the study as there is still some room left for optimism.  Although, its a new business field to explore, several cybersecurity firms like McAfee are coming forward to work with medical device manufacturers to thwart attacks and free up their devices from malware.

    One such security measure is to integrate some smart sense into the device at the time of manufacture. Like including application control, white-listing, anti-virus & malware protection, and advanced data protection along with device security management.

    But there is no silver bullet to this issue as of now as it needs a lot of collective effort from organizations and device manufacturers to achieve authenticity. At the same time, some tweaks in the legislative environments for governance must be made to improve security in medical devices. For instance, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presents certain regulations to the manufacturers that its almost impossible for them to make any necessary changes to device manufacturing.

    However, things have changed under trump administration as the FDA has made an attempt to improve the situation by re-considering certain laws after discussing it with the Department of Homeland Security.

    Meanwhile, medical device users should also play a crucial role in the scenario by keeping their devices up to date, and at the same time should hire security experts to help protect systems and medical devices from hackers who like to exploit even a minute vulnerable possibility.

    Naveen Goud
    Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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