New Cybersecurity Threats Target Medical Devices

Getty/ MCT

A new threat has got the attention of cybersecurity monitors after US security experts say the hacking of devices such as pacemakers and insulin pumps is possible.

Sky News has reported the US Food and Drug Administration is warning manufacturers to step up their vigilance, saying ‘cybersecurity vulnerabilities and incidents could directly impact medical devices or hospital network operations’.

No deliberate hacking of medical devices has yet to be reported according to officials.

Kevin Fu, professor at the University of Michigan, co-wrote a 2008 research paper which focused on the risks of implantable devices and how they could be re-programmed by hackers.

“It takes just a blink of the eye for malware to get in” says Fu.

Regulators have also suggested hospital equipment such as monitoring systems, scanners and radiation equipment are connected to networks which could potentially experience similar security breaches, reported Sky.

“The vast majority of medical devices in hospitals I’ve been to use Windows XP or Windows 95. These are extremely vulnerable to computer malware,” Fu said.

In light of the new findings US Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Emergency Response Team for industrial systems has said security should be stepped up for surgical devices, ventilators, drug infusion pumps and other equipment.

While the issue is now on the cybersecurity lookout experts say despite the risks, people still are better off with these devices than without.

Sky News has more.

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