You might somehow stand a breach in your personal computer, but getting the Medical Devices hacked is worse. These devices are accountable for so many lives, and the manufacturers mustn’t overlook the vulnerabilities at any cost.
The concern about medical devices’ cybersecurity came into the limelight about ten years ago.
The vulnerabilities came to light about medical devices only after IoT enabled medical devices became prominent. Ethical hackers have demonstrated the loopholes in modern IV pumps, insulin pumps, pacemakers, and other medical devices multiple times.
A decade ago, there clearly was rarely a manufacturer who does admit the easily exploitable.
These manufacturers would question the intent of the hackers –“why would someone hack a pacemaker?” There are many other medical device vulnerabilities that some body could exploit accidentally aswell.
How significant may be the medical device’s cybersecurity risk?
When medical devices align having an integrated network, software solutions, and systems, they leave their points of isolation and access the domain of cyber security. The devices get complex, and their management can become a further challenging errand.
In recent years, medical science moved through a plethora of innovations to transform the MO of medical care delivery. We have improved our capabilities in patient-care with interconnected medical devices, which is a small part of an even more complex clinical system.
Where there’s interconnectivity, you will find loopholes that invite breaches; exactly the same way hackers enter into interconnected pcs, servers, databases, and other devices.
Unlike traditional computer networks, interconnected medical devices account for life and death conditions — a breach in exactly the same means an immediate impact on the general clinical care and patient care infrastructure.
Considering the confidentiality of patient data and the patients themselves, exploiters can leverage medical devices for several reasons.
There is a substantial need for security with our medical devices.
The lifespan of a typical medical device may possibly range between 15-20 years. During this era, a patient might not be able to keep the device up-to-date with the latest patches and standards.
Such devices frequently become the easiest targets of hackers. Once a hacker gets into a weak device, he or she can find numerous ways to enter into the mainframe and other devices in exactly the same network from there.
Hackers don’t need such a thing very sophisticated to hack into even the best clinical systems.
A hacker can simply use one of the devices personally and keep a track of the manufacturing loopholes and error messages. Once a hacker finds enough weak points, pc software vulnerabilities, painful and sensitive hardware information, they can launch intensive attacks on the vulnerable points.
A hacker stepping into the central system has much bigger intentions.
Why medical devices need cybersecurity?
We’ve seen that hackers can exploit individual devices to get inside bigger networks of the clinical systems. Interestingly, there have been numerous cases of attacks on the health care sector. According to the Ponemon Institute, hackers have successfully exploited at least 94% of the medical businesses in recent years through cyber-attacks.
Unfortunately, the security techniques and cybersecurity measures found in healthcare aren’t enough to keep pace with growing risks. SANS Endpoint Security Survey in 2014 stated that attackers are not even using stealth techniques. They don’t have to — a hack can easily bypass the weak perimeter protections of the clinical systems.
After getting into the perimeter through weak nodes, attackers can very quickly launch phishing and DDoS attacks.
- Attackers are targeting the healthcare industry as a whole.
Individual devices are just entry points. Attackers are using painful and sensitive data the unit possess to target the whole health care organizations. Easily accessible devices such as for instance fitness tracker bands can be leveraged to target the medical or insurance systems.
Hackers can manipulate such as data to carry frauds with insurance companies. Hackers can use the same approach to launch attacks on any healthcare business integrated into such networks.
- The lethal risk to the users and the patients.
Many cardiac devices rely on the wireless system to function. A breach of the system could give unauthorized access to these devices to hackers. Hackers can now manipulate the devices and break their settings to kill a patient intentionally.
A hacker can manipulate a device’s battery or modify the heartbeat to cause damage to the patient.
How to improve responses to medical device risks?
Not just hospitals but also numerous entities come together to manage a connected device. A hospital may have hundreds and thousands of active devices. Every device is just a gateway to the network and thus, a potential target for exploiters and hackers.
Every device in a network is exclusive, and we can not mitigate every threat utilizing the same tactic. We need flexible security solutions.
- Working on information security processes together
Since you will find multiple manufacturers in the market, it’s a complex task to implement coherent security processes across all manufacturers. All of them have different processes, equipment, standards, and logical clinical workflow when it comes to manufacturing.
Though manufactures is capable of some kind of coherence in the devices through standard techniques, this doesn’t mean there exists a coherence in the security measures aswell. Manufacturers need to implement a secure configuration of a common network with successive coordination to manage the application solutions running on their devices.
- Seamless channels between users-healthcare-manufactures.
There ought to be seamless feedback and real-time tracking system between the medical care service providers and manufacturers. With real-time reporting, manufacturers would get sufficient time to mitigate potential threats or even operational issues.
Though you will find already such real-time tracking and notifications systems in the network, they have focused more on operational reporting of the devices; maybe not the cybersecurity threats.
It doesn’t matter should they manage it in-house or consult IoMT security solution firms, who specialize in tracking and mitigating such threats, the manufacturers and the hospitals must implement a supplementary layer of security.
- Risk management and regulation of the standards.
Once the health-care services are coherent, and different device manufacturers, it becomes easier to manage the risks. With a standard manufacturing process, robust governance, and real-time tracking of the threats, it’s easier to identify the risks and respond to the same quickly.
The following techniques would assist in this direction:
- Adding regulatory compliance for manufacturers.
- Mandatory standard documentation of the data flows.
- Training for biomedical technicians in crucial IT practices.
- Advanced resilience and protection measures to mitigate the losses.
Securing medical devices in a complex network is indeed a challenging mission. With so many organizations in the market, there exists a significant difference in the technology stack, systems, development environment, software architectures, in-house codes, and important third-party integrations.
Until there is significant coherence on the market, businesses must implement specialized solutions crafted for the need at their end. Human life is at stake with medical devices; there is absolutely no room for error. A medical device’s cybersecurity is just a non-negotiable investment for everyone involved.
I am a specialist blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently connected with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. I also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with the e commerce industry.
Originally published at Digital market news