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The Growing Use of Medical IoT Devices and Cybersecurity

13-Apr-2021

The Growing Use of Medical IoT Devices and Cybersecurity

Due to growing data breaches and cyberattacks in the healthcare industry, the use of IoT devices for medical purposes will surely gain the public’s attention. The healthcare sector is vulnerable to cyberattacks, including malware, ransomware, DDoS, and crypto-jacking. In case of not providing effective patient care or any data loss, healthcare providers may have to shy away. To prevent medical devices from cyber-attacks, you need to make a mind for Device Testing and Quality Assurance. Also, you need to keep your software updated and execute a response plan to an attack.   

IoT in Healthcare   

Before IoT (Internet of Things), patients made very least interactions with doctors, and hardly any of them might use text or Tele-based communications. Even hospitals or doctors had no way earlier to monitor patients’ health consistently, and they had no best tool to give them suggestions about treatments accordingly.   

Medical IoT devices allow patients to get remote treatments. IoT has made it possible for doctors to keep their patients healthy and safe from a long distance. It has also increased the satisfaction rates and engaged more patients to interact with doctors more efficiently and effortlessly. Moreover, remote monitoring of patients' health helps minimize the length of hospital stay and protects re-admissions. It also helps reduce costs and ensures to provide better outcomes to both patients and healthcare departments.   

The major advantages of IoT (Internet of Things) in Healthcare Involve:   

  • Faster Disease Diagnosis: Continuous care coordination with real-time data, diagnosis of diseases at an earlier stage is easy for doctors.   

  • Error/Defect Reduction: Data produced via IoT devices help in decision making and assures to handle healthcare operations with less cost, waste, and errors.   

  • Equipment and Drugs Management: Management of equipment and drugs is a significant challenge in the healthcare company. Through connected devices, drugs and equipment can be utilized better, resulting in lower costs.   

  • Overall Cost Savings: IoT allows for real-time patient tracking, lessens the number of hospital stays, unnecessary doctor visits, and re-admissions.   

  • Transparency: Evidence-based informed decisions help physicians bring absolute transparency for everyday routine tasks. Apart from that, continuous health monitoring offers proactive medical treatments.   

IoT Vulnerabilities in Healthcare  

 You have recently understood the advantages of using IoT in healthcare. As you know, in every seed of good, there is always a piece of bad. Similarly, IoT vulnerabilities in Healthcare are not deserved a big round of applause.   

In one study, two security researchers found about 68,000 medical systems/devices that were exposed online, and out of them, 12,000 were related to any healthcare organization. The major pinpoint was that these devices were connected to the Internet via computers that might be worked with very old versions of Windows XP.   

This version was famous for a lot of exploitable vulnerabilities. These devices were hackable via brute-force attacks. During the research of security experts, they discovered cardiology devices, anesthesia equipment, infusion systems, MRI scanners, nuclear medical systems through basic Shodan queries. Both the security professionals created honeypots or special servers as medical devices, which had real vulnerabilities and fake medical data. They had a logging component as well. Researchers analyzed the logs obtained by these honeypots and discovered that attackers were able to authenticate via SSH on these fake medical devices over 55,000 times and left 299 malware payloads. In most cases, the attackers didn’t realize what they had hacked, but they made the machine infected as a part of their botnets. Other than that, attackers also tried to use devices to spread malware inside the IT infrastructure of hospitals.   

Another study is the evidence that IoT can either create or destroy the future of the healthcare sector as it is affected by a group of 19 critical vulnerabilities defined by Ripple20, detected in a maximum of 52,000 medical device models along with remote code implementation possibilities.   

Major Hackable Devices in the IoT World are:   

  • Smart Pens.   

  • Infusion and Insulin Pumps.   

  • Wireless Vital Monitors.   

  • Thermometers and Temperature Sensors.   

  • Implantable Cardiac Devices.   

  • Security Cameras.   

With the growing market share of the IoT systems in the healthcare industry, it has provided the main door to cyber criminals to misuse customer's data with the utmost ease and allowed them to make many more profits from device vulnerabilities. Healthcare is the biggest target for cyber-attacks, and some reasons for that are:  

  • Healthcare staff is not educated or trained well enough to handle online risks.   

  • Private patient’s details or information is worth a lot of money to attackers.   

  • Professionals don’t want to disrupt comfy working practices with the invention of new technologies.   

  • Medical information needs to be open and shareable.   

  • Industries are unprepared for attacks when using outdated technology.   

  • Providing a top-level of security to the number of devices used in hospitals is also burdensome.   

  • Remote access creates more opportunities for attacks.   

Top Cyberattacks that Freak Out the Medical Management:  

  • DDoS Attacks

  • Ransomware

  • Business Email Compromise and Fraud Scams

  • Insider Threats

  • Data Breaches 

Overcoming Cybersecurity Challenges in Healthcare Give Goosebumps   

  • In April 2020, criminals targeted the WHO (World Health Organization). It took just one week for hackers to leak over 450 active email addresses and passwords of WHO employees who worked on the Coronavirus response.   

  • Recently the U.K.’s NCSC (National Cyber Security Center) and U.S. CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) urged many organizations to ask staff to change their passwords and improve cybersecurity.   

  • Clinics and Hospitals have low levels of automation for security and information support. Often the available equipment is based on outdated software and heterogeneous.   

  • Additional threats are associated with remote data access, trust deficit, digital transformation, and lack of training in online risks.   

  • Segregation of financing from care delivery and fragmented care delivery make it challenging to achieve efficiency improvements.   

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is supposed to have a profound impact on this industry. The home healthcare market is projected to mushroom at US$515.6 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 7.9%. This good news can create huge possibilities of many vulnerabilities. Some biggest risks are Ransomware Attacks, Personal Health Information Protection, Performing Confidential R & D (Research and Development) and formulas in the pharmaceutical industry, Breach in Health Care apps and Connected Devices, privacy issues in Telemedicine due to remote connectivity.   

  • Vulnerabilities can appear in distinct elements of the IT stack – in databases, servers, endpoints, and networks. Software patches are needed to close the main vulnerabilities.   

  • IT hygiene should be maintained and implemented well across all IT and medical systems that are connected to the internet. IT hygiene requirements should be flexible.   

  • Disabling insecure protocols and services that are not needed. Organizations should have medical IoT security testing strategies to prevent data leakage and secure access controls.   

  • The major concerns should be on encryption, automatic classification, access reviews, and real-time loss monitoring to gain a high level of data protection.   

  • From nurses, doctors, givers to entire hospital staffs should participate in training sessions and learn the best methods to handle security risks in healthcare.   

  • Establish safe coding guidelines and embrace dev-sec-ops and email security for all development programs.   

  • Focus on managing threats, risks, incidents, and vulnerabilities instead of focusing only on regulatory compliance.   

  • An efficient partner risk management program is required to keep data secure, and one must have protection against interconnected evolving digital health ecosystems.   

  • Rethinking is needed to improve governance, compliance, and risk management.   

  • Planning is a must for quick IT recovery and fast detection as it assures to improve resiliency in the event of dangerous breaches.   

  • Without an appropriate cybersecurity plan and software backup solution, some of the possible irreversible implications for healthcare organizations are – loss of patient data, impact to patient care and safety, brand reputation is at risk.   

The Need for Healthcare QA is Revised Here!  

The medical fields have seen tremendous changes and inventions due to the ever-growing demand of making this sector completely digital. Digitization plays a great role in connecting people and devices to offer better services. Still, while bringing digital transformations in healthcare, many challenges remain unsolved. To make a good impact of digitization in this sector, there is a need for using Healthcare QA services. One needs to set up next-generation mobile and IoT device labs to obtain accurate testing in healthcare. Some important reasons to involve QA in healthcare with comprehensive testing are:   

Applications Security   

You may know the healthcare departments spend more on research and development, as well as follow stringent rules of the regulatory bodies to help customers get quality software. The emerging software testing trends also give enormous stress to organizations while developing, customizing, enhancing, and updating the testing strategy. As per customers’ demands, healthcare software companies choose different types of testing. For example, security testing helps uncover potential risks and all vulnerabilities related to PHI (Protected Health Information). Security testing aims to meet HIPAA Compliance requirements and ensures to keep patients' personal health information completely secure.   

Integration Testing   

From the Policyholder, Brokers, TPAs, Insurers, Regulatory Body Domains to Patients, the truth is the health sector incorporate various modules and forms that require integration testing to optimize business processes and make better decisions in the healthcare organization.   

Functional Testing   

For healthcare applications and products, you have a need to assure that software is fit enough to provide the needed service and performance. If it is the matter of generating reports with a secure login, the hospital application should be fully functional all the time.  

Test Automation   

 For compliance and auditing purposes, test automation support is crucial as it allows you to perform rigorous testing on software and ensures to provide you medical IoT security and many other precautions for technologies that you’re using in healthcare. Tests need to be repeated and recorded. Thus, it is necessary to create a robust QA environment with select the best test automation tools to test the application/product for interoperability. The device should be both web and mobile-friendly. In case of inappropriate synchronization, medical-based wearable devices and applications will not work perfectly, and your users may unable to fetch accurate results. This process can turn to dissatisfaction that is equal to the loss of sales.   

Wrapping Up   

Good turnaround time, secure interface for the applications, security of patient data, flawless performance, and interoperability of medical devices are some critical areas that one has to deal with regularly. Medical device testing and Quality Assurance can help you to deliver relevant solutions to your patients. 

 At BugRaptors, we focus on making successful and reliable healthcare systems or products and consider independent verification and validation practices to make the software bug-free and up to the mark. We have an end-to-end life cycle that involves people, processes, and tools to test the whole gamut of healthcare applications.   

Put your trust in BugRaptors; we can prevent your healthcare business from cyberattacks and ensure that you will never come to us with post complaints.   

Suggested Read: Case Study on Medical-devices based Healthcare App Testing

author

Achal Sharma

Achal works as QA engineer in BugRaptors. He is well versed with manual testing, mobile application testing, game testing, compatibility testing , Regression testing and sanity testing and able to create effective documentation related to testing like test case, test report etc.

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