Cyber Attack on Digital Health
Hijack, Hijack, Hijack
Imagine that you are on a flight and hear the above words. Chills would run down your spine! Especially when you know that your life is in danger and the hijacker has control over your life.
It’s a similar case when we read about cyber attacks on medical devices, digital health systems and connected health networks. After examining recent cyber-attacks, one can quickly identify that the nature of these attacks is more sophisticated. Hackers ask for huge monetary compensation in return for leaving the system without any damage. There is very little chance of tracing the cyber attacker..
Connected medical devices are subject to attack based on their application or architecture. The application or architecture has multiple layers. Each layer has a different function and different security requirements. Hackers may target the entire system or layers of the network.
Usually, hackers target the perception layer in a connected medical device as this layer is responsible for transferring medical data acquired from sensors to the network layer. Through the perception layer, hackers take over the administrator's ability to track the sensor and clone or tamper with the data.
Hackers exploit vulnerabilities arising from embedded web services, unencrypted communication, hard-coded passwords, etc.
This exposes major gaps in connected medical device security across the connected medical device industry sector. Another common loophole includes a lack of a threat-driven security approach during the product development phase.
Why was there a reference to Hijack as the start of this blog?
Because a common cyber threat and a cyber attack on Medical devices are known as 'MedJack Attack!'
Wow, What is MedJack Attack?
In literal terms – A medical device, Hijack is known as MedJack. This is one type of cyber attack gaining momentum as many attacks are undetected and, in a situation where there is detection, these attacks are complicated to remediate.
During this attack, the attacker places malware within the networks through a variety of methods like:
- Targeted Email
- Infected USB
- Malware laden website
Which allow the malware to propagate within the network and impact any weak configured connected medical device.
Nearly 6000+ hospitals globally are attacked using this practice. Health and care data has the highest value of any stolen data, which means once penetration through this malware occurs, the hacker can begin to move laterally to discover targeted resources such as patient data.
MedJack attack is a big concern as
- virtually, any medical device can be impacted by this attack and
- the malware practices are advancing.
This means that the hackers have more and more sophisticated methods to attack and run down a connected digital health system.
MedJack is designed not to reveal itself as it searches for older, more vulnerable operating systems only found embedded within medical devices. Further, most medical devices are 'black boxes, and their internal software operations are not visible to the hospital cyber defence team, which means once the medical devices are penetrated, the attack is often unnoticed.
Most worldwide governments have taken action to make resilience against cyber security threats a baseline requirement for connected medical devices- and, in response, regulators within each country have developed guidance(s) on cyber security for connected medical devices and IVD medical devices in line with their country's existing regulatory requirements.
What does this mean today?
Companies who play a role in the design, manufacture, packaging and labelling of connected medical devices, such as biopharmaceutical, medical technology, and newly emerging creators (or manufacturers), are responsible for remaining vigilant about identifying risks and hazards associated with their connected medical devices, including risks related to cyber security.
Such companies are also responsible for understanding the global landscape of cyber security regulatory guideline requirements and applying those that matter most to ensure the connected medical devices can be lawfully supplied in a chosen country.
Want to know more about these requirements?
Want to protect your Digital Health from MedJack and other similar attacks?
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