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Hospital Hacks!

Hacker Footprints in Hospitals

Hacking Computers
Hacking Mobiles
Hacking WiFi
Hacking Cars
Hacking Trains
Hacking Planes...

If you think that simply staying away from the computer or the internet can save you from the trap of hacking, you are wrong because the list doesn’t end here. There is one more item to add to the list - Hospital Equipment.

Hospital equipment is vulnerable to hacking. Let’s look at a scenario. You are in a hospital bed and thinking about recovering from your illness because you are at the best hospital and the doctors are extremely professional. Do you need to worry about anything?

Yes, because hackers can remotely manipulate the dosage of medicine coming out your drug infusion pump. These pumps are commonly used to deliver antibiotics, morphine drips and chemotherapy.

A defibrillator, a Bluetooth enabled device which is used to give shocks to a patient’s heart, can be manipulated to give random shocks or prevent a needed shock. Digitally stored medical records can be altered causing misdiagnosis and patients getting the wrong drugs. Medical reports like CT scan reports can be accessed on a hospital network. There is other life support equipment also which is vulnerable to hacking like medical ventilators, heart-lung machines and much more.

Hackers are breaking into the computer networks of healthcare facilities with increasing frequency and taking valuable personal information that is often secured improperly. Hackers are targeting systems that store troves of valuable personal information held in electronic medical records.

Nowadays to increase the efficiency of the flow of patients’ information to medical staff, the medical equipment that is used supports everything from WiFi to Bluetooth communication. However, these devices are not properly secure, as they keep weak passwords like ‘1234’ or they have default passwords such as “password” or “admin,” that makes the work easy for hackers.

The health care industry has these alarming security problems with medical equipment. Another reason is there is no security assessment before any medical equipment goes to market. Thus, there is a need to secure the devices with encryption and authentication before it goes to market and fix those which are already there.

We are in an age where emerging technology is trying to make life easy for us. But, it comes with strings attached. We still have a long way to go before we reach a stage where we can blindly trust technology.