Removing the cyber threat from healthcare automation

| Information and Communication Technology

Cyber security plays an increasingly crucial role in keeping us safe as healthcare technology becomes more connected.

In a recent report from Intel Security and Atlantic Council, technology developers in the healthcare industry are being urged to take a more proactive role in preventing potentially life-threatening malware from disrupting medical devices.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is enjoying large growth in the healthcare sector from relatively benign devices targeting the consumer sector such as wristbands for health monitoring to life critical implants such as pacemakers and wearable technology such as insulin delivery pumps that keep patients alive. The common thread running through all these devices is their connectivity.

It’s this ability to connect such devices to healthcare providers over a Wi-Fi network that provides cyber-criminals with another opportunity to attack the lucrative healthcare industry. Increased levels of integration in healthcare information systems in recent years has resulted in a corresponding escalation in attack levels that have resulted in a 282% increase in financial losses due to cyber crime between 2013 and 2014, according to Intel Security.

With healthcare automation pushing the stakes even higher, technology providers are expected to respond by considering security implications earlier in the design process. In addition, new standards covering such devices are likely to emerge as well as changes to the approvals processes that medical technology has to undergo before being available for commercial use.

According to the report, by combining the innovative use of wireless and mobile connectivity with a robust approach to ensuring its protection from cyber threats, healthcare providers will be able to realise the financial advantages and patient benefits of remote monitoring and treatment systems whilst assuring patient safety.

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