Malware Medical-Device Hacks Are Growing

June 22, 2015 at 1:07 pm By

Medicine and technology have formed a strong bond over the past two decades and now that bond is at risk due to malware intrusions by hackers.

“Malware intrusions are on the rise among such systems, says Greg Enriquez, CEO of TrapX, which tracks them as part of its effort to build software that tricks such evil code into revealing itself,” according to USA Today. “This battle is growing, he says, because such data is often on older, more-vulnerable networks, while the financial incentives for stealing medical data increase.”

So what’s in it for hackers? Well according to Enriquez, medical data is worth 10 times more than the value of credit card data. Cyber hackers would be able to make much more on the electronic black market, eliminating their need to go after credit cards and start hounding medical devices.

“Once it’s there, crime syndicates and foreign attackers buy and sell it for extortion and blackmail schemes, says Enriquez, a former executive with security software firmsFireEye and Mandiant,” according to the article.

“Now, hospital networks that connect to medical devices are at growing risk for hacks as patient data has moved from paper folders to digital files.”

The medical devices are vulnerable because they are no longer connected to closed networks. When joined with home devices the Internet links between both electronic devices bring added vulnerabilities. They aren’t just a few isolated incidents either. The attacks have grown by two-thirds in the last five years according to the article.

“If bad guys cooperate while we work in separate silos…it’s a major problem” for security personnel trying to find and defeat such malicious code, said Paul Kurtz CEO of TruSTAR.

“A former cyber security director for the White House, Kurtz founded the company with Dave Cullinane, the former information security officer for eBay.

In hopes to build the necessary software to combat such behavior Kurtz reports that Ten Fortune 500 companies have begun testing software that can help protect medical-devices.

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