Could Medical Devices Be Targeted In A Cyber Attack?

Cyber security is something that organisations in all industries need to be mindful of. In healthcare, we’ve already seen the devastating impact cyber attacks can have.

For instance, the WannaCry ransomware attack on the NHS in May 2017 is estimated to have cost the UK’s health service £92 million and resulted in 19,000 cancelled appointments.

But this attack was on the record-keeping systems of hospitals. An article for Verdict Medical Devices recently suggested that health organisations need to be vigilant of cyber criminals using medical devices as a way to access networks.

The publication noted that so far medical devices themselves haven’t been targeted, but that doesn’t mean the threat can be discounted.

David Brown, GlobalData medical device analyst, explained that there have been a number of instances where medical equipment has been found to be vulnerable to a cyber attack. Should hackers exploit these weaknesses, they could cause serious harm to patients.

Mr Brown shared an example related to CT scanners uncovered by Israeli researchers at Ben-Gurion University.

“They demonstrated that CT scanners with outdated software were vulnerable to attack and would allow the adjustments of applied radiation to harmful levels,” he stated.

The risk of cyber attacks is just another reason to ensure that you regularly engage with medical calibration services to ensure all your equipment is operating correctly and that any vulnerabilities are fixed.

In the US, the FDA has released a cyber security ‘playbook’ for healthcare providers designed to help them take a proactive approach to cyber security and placing it at the heart of healthcare organisations and their operations.

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