Cyber Attacks On Medical Devices Can Severely Harm Patients

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New Delhi: The Royal Academy of Engineering has issued a caveat on tampering of health devices such as MRI scanners and pacemakers as these equipment are digitally connected and being targeted by hackers in order to harm patients.

Cyber attacks on health devices are of increasing at an alarming rate as they can have adverse consequences on patients’ safety, said the two new reports published by the RAE and PETRAS Internet of Things (IoT) research hub.

The technical experts warned that, “the numbers of health devices identified as being potentially risk-prone, which includes MRI scanners and pacemakers as well.”

The reports reveal that these health systems need to be re-designed with safety features and resilience in order to reduce future risk of rigging.

These systems could be vulnerable both to cyber attacks and non-malicious events such as natural hazards or the failure of components and the impact can also escalate where systems are interdependent.

These systems could be vulnerable both to cyber attacks and non-malicious events such as natural hazards or the failure of components and the impact can also escalate where systems are interdependent.

The reports identify some of the measures needed to strengthen the safety and resilience of all connected systems, particularly the critical infrastructure on which much of our society now depends.

We cannot totally avoid failures or attacks, but we can design systems that are highly resilient and will recover quickly.

As the number of IoT devices increase in homes, workplaces and public spaces, the studies considered the potential for more aspects of people’s lives to be observed.

There might be privacy threats from data sharing, IoT devices can violate norms of private space when IoT systems are controlling or processing personal data.

The reports recommend that the evolving nature of the challenges will require continual responsiveness and agility by government, regulators, organisations, and their supply chains.

There is no going back on the Internet of Things, it is here to stay and offers many new capabilities. We should embrace it with a strategy that goes beyond IoT towards the ‘Internet of Everything’, with a greater focus on people, data and processes.

The reports also stressed that there’s no silver bullet for improving cyber security. UK Lead Partner-Cyber Security at KPMG also called on organisations to demand that products are ‘secured by default’.

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