Healthcare security challenge: How cyberattacks are evolving

Security Magazine

Greg Murphy

First, it goes without saying that hospitals and frontline workers should be applauded for doing their utmost to ensure staff and patient safety under extraordinary circumstances. Hospitals are under unprecedented stress — and, sadly, it appears that the pandemic will get worse before it gets better. The vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel, but until they have been widely distributed, hospitals will remain over-extended, making them even more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Malicious actors see this health crisis as an opportunity — calculating that when thousands of people are dying every day during the pandemic, hospitals will have no choice but to give in to their demands. Many hospitals are ill-equipped to cope with these reprehensible, immoral actors.

One thing that makes hospitals more vulnerable today than in the past is the extraordinary increase in connected medical devices (often known as IoMT or the “Internet of Medical Things”). Network-connected medical devices make healthcare more efficient and enable better patient care. They range from simple blood pressure devices and infusion pumps to more complex machines such as MRIs, CT scanners, and ultrasounds. The obvious problem is that these network connections also make these devices vulnerable to attack.

In a worst-case scenario...

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