Keep Medical Devices Safe From Cyber Threats

Medical devices are often crucial to the well being of patients and maintaining a high level of security in these machines is of the utmost importance. This made the news of medical devices’ susceptibility to cyber threats all the more alarming. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made its concerns over cyber threats affecting medical devices known in a statement. “Many medical devices contain configurable embedded computer systems that can be vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches,” the FDA alleged, according to Reuters.

University of Michigan professor Kevin Fu has asserted that there haven’t been any documented cyber attacks on medical devices, reports CTV News. Even though the computer science professor, specializing in health security, alleges that there is no record of any attacks occurring, medical device manufacturers and users are concerned over how safe things like pacemakers and insulin pumps are for users. If these devices were hacked, the results could be fatal.

The risk of cyber attacks increases in devices that are more connected to networks than others. The FDA is warning that machinery that works with the internet or even hospital networks, other medical devices and smartphones will be more vulnerable. The agency has made several suggestions for manufacturers to consider in their measures to prevent medical device hacking. Devices that are “life-sustaining” should have limited access ability, all devices should have increased security controls like user IDs and passwords, and in the off chance a device is attacked, there should be a failsafe to recover it before the user is affected..

Maintaining the safety of patients is a top priority to any hospital or medical device manufacturer; the potential for cyber threats is very serious to members of these industries. With the FDA’s recent announcement, the proper steps can be made to insure that medical device hacking is prevented.