Medical devices are a weak link in hospital cyber defenses, putting patients in the crossfire: study

  • Monday, 24th October, 2022
  • 17:40pm

Patients are feeling the effects of cyber attacks entering through the internet of medical things as hospitals continue to pass the buck.

Half of hospitals have been attacked with ransomware with 45% of organizations stating they believed the attacks were affecting patient care, according to a study released by Cynerio and Ponemon. Out of the group attacked, over half believed cyber attacks were indirectly responsible for increased mortality rates. The report cited integral medical devices being a weak link in hospital armor and a lack of foresight sending hospitals spiraling into attack cycles.

“What we find is that the healthcare industry is by far the highest risk industry with respect to emerging threats and vulnerabilities and real attacks, not just the possibility of an attack, but real legitimate attacks,” said Larry Ponemon, founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute. “These organizations have been inept in implementing security processes, especially if we include issues around IoT, internet of things and internet of medical things.”

Ponemon pointed to these devices that are ubiquitous in hospitals, everything from MRI machines to heart rate monitors, which were involved in 88% of data breaches. Furthermore, 79% of organizations do not consider the cybersecurity of these devices to be deemed “mature,” and only 33% of survey respondents reported keeping an inventory of the attacked devices. Without the proper defense, these devices can become revolving doors for hackers, experts say.

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