Shane McGlaun (Blog)
Everyone is aware that smartphones can be hacked and are a potential source of security vulnerability for personal and private data. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning for medical devices and smartphones noting that the devices can expose patient data and lead to cyber security issues. The DHS issued alert titled Attack Surface: Healthcare and Public Health Sector earlier this month.
The warning notes that medical devices and smartphones that connect to IT networks could pose a potential security threat. The security threat could lead to the spread of malware and the loss of data according to the bulletin. The loss of personal medical data could have dire consequences for healthcare providers under HIPAA.
“The expanded use of wireless technology on the enterprise network of medical facilities and the wireless utilization of MDs opens up both new opportunities and new vulnerabilities to patients and medical facilities,” the bulletin from the DHS’ National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center stated.
“Smartphones with poorly designed security protections are frequently connected to medical IT networks and provide a new vector for malware transmission,” DHS reported.
The Department of Homeland Security fears that some implanted medical devices can also hold sensitive information that could lead to the theft of medical data and possible access to corporate networks. DHS also warns that these devices could potentially be open to Denial of Service attacks due to their battery life limitations.
Security researchers at hacker conferences have been able to demonstrate attacks on implanted medical devices such as the ability to intercept signals from a diabetic insulin pump and direct the pump to give a lethal dose of insulin to the patient.
“Imagine a blood pressure monitor, or heart monitor, that transmits the wrong message or simply ceases to function, or a medical decision support system that receives the wrong information-the result could be very bad,” said McMillan.