As we improve health care through connected technology, we also must protect it from the bad guys
Imagine this text message shows up in your e-mail: “Dear Sam, We have complete control of your hospital’s telemetry network. Please remit $15,000 in bitcoin to our offshore bank immediately or we will disable communication on this network.” Perhaps a bit far-fetched one might say. However, many in health care now must consider possibilities along these lines every day. With recent ransomware attacks, such as WannaCry and Petya, and with hospital clinical technology connected to IT systems more and more, the cybersecurity risks associated with medical devices grow each day. Petya reportedly infected numerous organizations, including some hospitals in the United States. So while connected medical devices provide many advantages to better coordinate patient care, which we now benefit from, those connections simultaneously expose us to new risks, which we now must manage.
With this increased exposure, experts now worry a hacker could connect remotely to a hospital network and the medical devices connected to it. We must all now understand better these risks so we may reduce their impact on our patients.