Patricia AH Williams, Andrew J Woodward

What’s the research –
Connecting medical devices to computer networks has introduced new challenges in protecting them against cyber-attacks. This study takes a holistic view into the medical devices operational environment, discusses the contributing factors to their insecurities, the available solutions, and offers recommendations for their future development.

Why it’s important –
Online interaction with medical devices makes them targets for hackers attempting to compromise them as well as the data they hold or the network to which they are connected. Healthcare has become a popular target for cyber-attacks (e.g. there are high financial payouts for medical records in the black market!). It is for this reason that safeguarding medical devices against cyber intrusion is high priority. Unlike the traditional technological approach to security, socio-technical perspectives on security offer more pragmatic solutions. Furthermore, medical device insecurities must be understood within the context of their implementation environment so that preventive, protective and compliance measures can be taken at the time.

What have we learned –
Online interaction with medical devices makes them targets for hackers. In order to safeguard the cybersecurity of medical devices, they must be recognised as standard connections in network implementations.This requires increased collaboration between management, IT professionals and clinicians, and device manufacturers. This will go some way to addressing the current lack of governance for networked medical devices, risk management, and low level awareness of the insecurities of these devices.

Who should read this paper –
This is a great paper for anyone keen to gain depth of knowledge about cybersecurity in healthcare. A must read for a wide range of stakeholders: healthcare providers, change champions, managers, IT professionals, medical network vendors, and medical device manufacturers.

To read the entire journal article, click here.

Want to tweet this?
Just highlight the following and click the twitter icon:

Online interaction with medical devices makes them targets for hackers