Once a problem squarely in the realm of IT, cyber attacks on medical devices—including viruses and information-stealing malware—are now a threat looming large enough to necessitate biomed intervention. As hackers get smarter about infiltrating health care networks, hospitals need to get more organized in how they deal with them.
While medical devices haven’t been targeted specifically by hackers yet, they may become corrupted or damaged just the same if a hospital’s network is breached, according to Axel Wirth, national health care solutions architect with computer security company Symantec Corp, out of Mountain View, Calif.
“Medical devices tend to be a weak spot” in a hospital’s network, he says. This is especially true of older equipment. Since device configuration lies in the hands of the manufacturer in the US, biomeds need to cement a good working relationship with their vendors to make sure equipment is properly patched and up to date. Hospitals with several of the same older device are especially vulnerable. If networked, all devices could be affected during an attack.
24×7 will be focusing more on the growing threat of cyber attacks in an upcoming Focus On article, but first we want to hear what you’ve seen and heard at your facility. Have you spoken to your IT department? What’s the best way to approach this subject? Also feel free to share any tips for working with corrupted equipment.