Hackers can enter your home security through your heart
Experts warn that health tech is vulnerable to cyberattacks which could have ‘severe consequences’ for patient safety
Hackers could kill patients by attacking their pacemakers or heart pumps, the Royal Academy of Engineering has warned.
In a new report, security experts warned that health tech is vulnerable to cyberattacks which could have “severe consequences” for patient safety.
The RAENG warned that the number of the number of healthcare device susceptible to hacking is growing, which not only poses a threat to individuals, but also provides a way to gain access to entire networks.The experts cautioned that pacemakers or wearable health monitors which are linked up to the Internet or internal computer networks could also provide a gateway for hackers to plant ransomware into systems, potentially crippling in the NHS or government departments.Some US hospitals have already been infected by the Wannacry and Medjack computer viruses after hackers targeted medical devices which were not protected.
Professor Nick Jennings, a fellow of the RAENG and vice provost at Imperial College London said: “There is genuine harm that can be done through poor cyber security on medical devices, on future-connected homes, on autonomous vehicles, and if they are not dealt with then that will lead to harms and deaths.“There are vulnerabilities in a range of connected medical devices. Dick Cheyney famously changed the settings on his pacemaker because he wanted to make sure he wasn’t vulnerable to an attack and fans of Homeland will know that’s how they killed off the president.“Medical devices can also be used as a gateway into other parts of the network, so if a device is not well-protected then it’s easy to go through one device to another devices.
“We cannot totally avoid failures or attacks, but we can design systems that are highly resilient and will recover quickly.”
The report calls for new regulation to make sure that devices connected to the Internet are not vulnerable to hacking. The authors point out that many were designed before the threat was realised.
In recent years there have been a number of recalls of medical devices because they were found to be vulnerable to cyberattack.Paul Taylor, UK Lead Partner – Cyber Security at KPMG and lead author of the report, said: “There is no going back on the Internet of Things. It is here to stay and offers many new capabilities.”
The team also warned householders to be more careful about giving out their Internet password to friends or neighbours.But Jennings warned that many people simply did not have the skills to ensure their data was secure.
“It is worrying that there is a low level of data literacy,” he added. “We should be teaching it from primary school.
“Don’t give guests your wi-fi password. My son brings over his friends and they all seem quite nice. But they could all be budding hackers and could misuse your network. Or they could pass on the password.
“So I would recommend people set up a guest network in their house – and let guests log into that.”
–© The Daily Telegraph