MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Although no wearable medical device hacks have yet been reported outside of a research setting, security experts warned that medical devices in hospitals have not been so lucky.
Medical machines such as patient monitors and respiratory machines may be at risk due to software vulnerabilities that device makers aren’t prepared to update, panelists at the National Institute of Standards & Technology Information Security & Privacy Advisory Board meeting said this week.
"Conventional malware is rampant in hospitals because of medical devices using un-patched operating systems," said Kevin Fu, medical device software security expert and among the 1st to demonstrate that medical devices are vulnerable to software attacks. "There’s little recourse for hospitals when a manufacturer refuses to allow OS updates or security patches."
The problem lies partly with Windows-based operating systems that device makers often refuse to update, sometimes out of concerns that the FDA may take issue with the changes, MIT’s Technology Review reported.
That leaves network-connected medical devices vulnerable to hi-jacking by bot-nets or other malware that may slow the machines down or take them off-line. At Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 1 or 2 devices are taken down each week for cleaning, chief information security officer Mark Olson told meeting attendees.
Do digital health records mean better care?
Physicians using electronic health records provided higher rates of needed care than physicians using paper, especially in regard to hemoglobin testing in diabetes, breast cancer screening, chlamydia screening, and colorectal cancer screening, according to a new study.
DoD awards $4.2M contract for brain trauma diagnostics
Pittsburgh diagnostics maker Neuro Kinetics won a $4.2 million Dept. of Defense contract to advance its I-Portal eye-movement tracking technology for battlefield testing of brain injuries.
Detecting cancer by collecting data
A research team spanning 5 U.S. universities is looking at how "big data" analysis techniques may provide insight into patterns of white blood cells that help diagnosticians pick out non-blood cancers.