Health care easy target for hackers, studies show

The health-care sector is in serious danger of cyber attacks, according to two new reports.

One two-year-long study by Scott Erven, head of information security for Essentia Health, is particularly troubling. Here are some of the problems he and his team found, according to Wired:

“Drug infusion pumps–for delivering morphine drips, chemotherapy and antibiotics–that can be remotely manipulated to change the dosage doled out to patients; Bluetooth-enabled defibrillators that can be manipulated to deliver random shocks to a patient’s heart or prevent a medically needed shock from occurring; X-rays that can be accessed by outsiders lurking on a hospital’s network; temperature settings on refrigerators storing blood and drugs that can be reset, causing spoilage; and digital medical records that can be altered to cause physicians to misdiagnose, prescribe the wrong drugs or administer unwarranted care.”

In addition, Wired reported, the study found that attackers could “take critical equipment down during emergencies or crash all of the testing equipment in a lab.”

The second report came from the FBI, according to Reuters.  In an April 8 private notice to health care providers, Reuters reported, the agency warned that “the healthcare industry is not as resilient to cyber intrusions compared to the financial and retail sectors.” Consequently, the FBI said, “the possibility of increased cyber intrusions is likely.”

Illustration by KRT Archives.


Share this Post