Matters of Life and Death: Cyber Security and Medical Devices


Concerns about the vulnerabilities of medical devices to cyber attacks are spurring a new focus on the need to protect patient safety, data and hospital systems

It’s a scenario right out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Without a word of warning, medical devices regulating everything from heartbeat to insulin levels across a hospital system begin behaving erratically – creating mass confusion and a potential life-and-death emergency for hundreds of patients. Far-fetched? Perhaps. But far from impossible. The fact that no one has ever attempted to do such a thing is maybe just luck. And that’s the concern as the healthcare industry finds itself today under relentless cyber attack.

In 2019, the industry was responsible for nearly four out of five of all reported data breaches and in 2020, the situation is only expected to get worse. Estimates put the cost of cyber crime to the industry at as much as $4 billion—and that doesn’t include the damage to the professional reputations of the healthcare institutions involved.

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Source: Symantec