medical devices

Healthcare Industry Facing Growing Range of Cyber Threats From Hackers, Foreign Countries

A new report predicts a new frontier of cyber attacks for healthcare organizations, including ransomware, international espionage and the hacking of biomedical devices.

Thanks to the wealth of sensitive data maintained by healthcare organizations, the healthcare industry is facing a wide “range of threat actors and malicious activity” from criminals and even other countries, cybersecurity firm FireEye finds in a report released Wednesday.

“Given the critical role it plays within society and its relationship with our most sensitive information, the risk to this sector is especially consequential,” FireEye writes.

The current threat landscape can be separated into two different categories, the company found: theft of data and “disruptive and destructive threats.” Most hackers targeting the industry are motivated by financial gain, but a relatively smaller threat includes cyber espionage campaigns conducted by international actors, most notably China.

Those actors appear to be driven by an “interest in acquiring medical research and collecting large data sets of information, potentially for the purpose of fostering intelligence operations.” In April, suspected Chinese cyber espionage hackers targeted an American health center that focuses on cancer research, a high priority for a country facing growing cancer and mortality rates.

In addition, healthcare organizations also face the potential consequences of disruptive and destructive threats, which can hurt the ability of healthcare providers to conduct normal operations.

FireEye found that the industry was particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks, which locks out administrators from their systems until they pay a fine to regain access. Ransomware has recently paralyzed cities like Atlanta and Baltimore, most recently shutting down certain systems in 23 local Texas governments in what the state believes was a coordinated attack.

Perhaps the most concerning finding in the report was FireEye’s prediction that medical devices will become the next target for hackers. The firm found that the use of healthcare-focused IoT devices -- including remote patient monitoring and tracking systems -- “increase the theoretical attack surface” for healthcare providers.

Indeed, FireEye found that several such devices are “insecure by design” in order to provide access to data for providers and physicians. “We suspect that other types of medical devices have similar security shortfalls,” the report reads.

The company predicts that the threat landscape in this area will only grow larger.

“Looking forward, the increasing number of biomedical devices used for critical functions within hospitals and healthcare providers presents a growing security challenge,” the report reads. ‘Furthermore—given their importance and value—a growing willingness by cyber crime, or, in a period of heightened geopolitical tensions, nation state actors—to deploy disruptive and destructive tools may significantly increase the impact from these threats we have observed to date.”

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

Featured

  • Top 5 Cybersecurity Trends of 2023

    Top 5 Cybersecurity Trends for 2023

    Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field, and staying on top of the latest trends is essential for organizations looking to protect themselves from cyber threats. Read Now

  • See How Reddit Users Have Unlocked the Dark Side of ChatGPT

    See How Reddit Users Have Unlocked the Dark Side of ChatGPT

    In less than four months after its debut, ChatGPT continues to garner attention from users all around the world who have made use of the AI system that answers questions, creates computer code, and much more. Read Now

  • Enforcing Zero Trust in a Hybrid Work Environment

    Enforcing Zero Trust in a Hybrid Work Environment

    The effects of the pandemic have rippled across the business world like a meteor hitting a pond, creating a new plethora of challenges that incorporated into MBA curriculum for years to come. Read Now

  • First Responders Give NIST Their Communications Tech Wish Lists

    First Responders Give NIST Their Communications Tech Wish Lists

    Our first responders have spoken. An extensive research project conducted by experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reveals what our country’s police, fire, emergency medical and 911 dispatch responders think about the communications technology they use on a regular basis and how they would like developers to improve it in the future. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Tyco Kantech EntraPass security management software

    Tyco Kantech EntraPass security management software

    Johnson Controls, the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, and architect of the Open Blue digital connected platforms, has released the newest version of the Tyco Kantech EntraPass security management software. 3

  • LiftMaster Garage Door Opener

    LiftMaster Garage Door Opener

    LiftMaster Transforms the Garage Door Opener Into a Sleek Smart Home Device That Does More Than Open and Close the Garage Door 3

  • Schlage RC reader controller

    Schlage RC Reader Controller

    This new innovative device combines the power of the Pure IP™ access control technology pioneered by ISONAS with Schlage’s intelligent hardware and credentials, delivering a comprehensive and cost-effective perimeter solution to customers. 3