Protecting your medical devices from ransomware
MedTech companies are working towards enhancing patient experience, but at the same time there is growing unrest amongst patients. This unrest is caused by the increasing number of cyber-attacks on hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
A March 2021 report published by Morphisec highlights some worrying trends. In the year 2020, one in five Americans fumed about healthcare problems caused due to cyber-attacks. Many patients reported issues with their overall healthcare package, and others resented personal data breaches.
Whilst the pandemic has boosted the digital space this, in turn, has resulted in more opportunities for cyber-attackers to do their worst. Individuals as well as the healthcare sector as a whole must focus on keeping themselves protected from these serious cyber-threats.
Whilst we talk about protection from cyber-attacks in the knowledge that there are usually enough resources to protect our laptops, mobile phones and other gadgets but … what about MEDICAL DEVICES? What about the entire healthcare system?
Cyber-attack prevention measures must cover hospitals and clinics and be extended to any device used for patient care. One of the recommended, simplest solutions is to have a whistleblowing team which regularly performs audits to maintain safety.
At Med-Di-Dia, we are dedicated to providing our clients with advice and guidance on cyber-security in order to mitigate the risk of cyber-attacks on their medical devices and thereby, protecting the end-user.
Here are some essential steps and tips that you can take to protect your Medical Devices and the ecosystem:
- Maintaining holistic Medical Device Inventory
Prevention of cyber-attacks begins with the identification of any possible threats and device breaches. Your protection teams should be well equipped with clinical asset management systems. In simple words, all healthcare, and healthcare delivery systems, should have complete knowledge of all devices connected to the system.
The protective framework should know a Device’s
- Physical Attributes: Equipment descriptions, serial numbers, model numbers, assigned departments, maintenance cycle.
- Digital Attributes: Mode of connection, are the devices connected through USBs/Bluetooth, data transmission details, storage information
- Relations with OEMs
Apart from creating a holistic framework, significant efforts should be taken to ensure that the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) is flagged with update requirements. Unlike other electronic gadgets, medical devices don’t have the feature of auto-updating or downloading security patches. In such times healthcare delivery units should ensure that they are in constant touch with the OEMs and let them know of any requirements concerning cyber protection.
Different regions have different regulations regarding cybersecurity, and the optimum solution, in this case, will be the collaborative working of the entire ecosystem. This means that once the healthcare delivery unit has made a holistic framework, a team of whistle-blowers must update the OEMs with any system upgrade requirement. The clinical evaluations team can play a vital role in ensuring the same.
This relation-building preventive measure will ensure regular system updates and maintenance of all connected devices.
- Regular tabs on system access
Whether connected physically or via remote setup, all devices must be regularly assessed for any potential vulnerabilities. Healthcare delivery units should be proactive in managing and reviewing all permissions and authorisations. A robust audit of all clinical assets will play a pivotal role in the cyber defence mechanism. This step will enable responsible departments to quickly access clinical assets and turn them off as a precautionary measure.
We all know that hackers have no sympathy and have an opportunistic mindset. It is the core responsibility of all ecosystem members to ensure ethical practices are followed. As a regulatory partner, Med-Di-Dia is strongly committed to cyber security and helping clients to define a solid pathway to ensure optimum patient experience enhancement.
Feel free to connect with our experts for all your medical regulatory needs.
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