The Threat of Cybercrime Looms Over the Healthcare Industry

Cybercrime is an ever-growing problem in today’s world of modern technology. Clever criminals explore new veins every day, and regulators and medical-device-makers are wary that medical devices, such as pacemakers and insulin pumps, will be the next target, writes Casey Harper, in an article recently published by The Hill. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working in conjunction with other agencies in order to develop a response in the case of such an attack. While no known cases of medical-device hacking have yet to occur, those in the medical industry should be aware that the possibility is looming. Harper addresses two different problems surrounding this issue:

  • Problem #1: Healthcare’s vulnerability to hacking. All it takes is one weak point at a hospital to allow a hacker entry to the entire system. Once inside, hackers can lock hospitals out of their records or website, often demanding ransom in such a situation; hackers can change medical record information, resulting in both fatalities and pricy lawsuits; and now there are fears that hackers will exploit vulnerabilities in pacemakers and insulin pumps, leaving users open to potentially lethal attacks.
  • Problem #2: In the case of a lawsuit, who is liable? According to the FDA, “medical device security is a shared responsibility between stakeholders, including healthcare facilities, patients, providers, and manufacturers of medical devices.”

Information sharing among members of the healthcare community will be key in fighting back against cybercrime, writes Harper. Both the FDA and players within the industry are devoting money to cybersecurity experts in an attempt to head off this threat. “Coordinated disclosures,” file back-ups, and cybersecurity protections are all being employed.

To read more, see the article in full at The Hill.

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