IoT may lead to more healthcare security challenges

Although the healthcare industry has moved with "tremendous speed" in addressing security in the past couple of years, Internet of Things health devices are creating more potential for cyberattacks, cybersecurity expert Tyler Cohen Wood tells HealthcareInfoSecurity.com.

"The more connected you become, and the more software you're utilizing, typically the more open you are to attack," says Wood, cybersecurity adviser at Inspired eLearning and a former Defense Department intelligence officer.

"We are moving so quickly to the Internet of Things types of devices. When [manufacturers] were developing these devices, it's not intentional that security is not added, it's that they don't know all the risks and threats that are out there."

Healthcare organizations and manufacturers are taking security more seriously, she says, even going beyond the recommendations in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent guidance on post-market cybersecurity.

She predicts a continued increase in ransomware, noting that the real vulnerability lies within medical devices, wearables and other health tools that transmit data to a tablet or a smartphone, for instance.

Security researcher Billy Rios, who brought to light vulnerabilities in infusion pumps, previously said security research is on the upswing and he expects more FDA warnings about medical devices.

On Tuesday, President Obama announced a series of "near-term actions" to enhance the nation's cybersecurity, with substantial investments in IT modernization and cybersecurity to be included in the president's Fiscal 2017 budget proposal.

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