5 FBI Recommendations For Medical Device Cybersecurity

Ben Denkers

While medical devices are often designed for decades of use in hospitals, the software needed to run them becomes outdated more quickly. This results in devices running vulnerable software on healthcare networks, which can expose patients to physical and cyber threats.

In response to the threats facing medical devices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released recommendations for the healthcare sector to bolster the cybersecurity of medical devices.

Consequences of medical device cyberattacks

Cybersecurity threats to medical devices can initiate a range of adverse effects. "On the extreme side, you have the scenario where a medical device compromise could directly impact patient safety and potentially be life-threatening," said Ben Denkers, Chief Innovation Officer at CynergisTek. "What could an attacker do if they took control of an insulin pump or pacemaker?" 

While medical device takeovers have the potential to cause life-threatening consequences, many cyberattacks on medical devices lead to system downtime, rather than complete control of devices. "The most common consequence is healthcare organizations must deny service to the individual because the device no longer works or requires supporting infrastructure, which has also been compromised. Where time becomes a critical success factor in many medical emergencies, this can also have severe patient impacts," said Denkers.

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About the Author

Ben Denkers

Ben Denkers is the CIO at CynergisTek where he is responsible for supporting growth, ensuring effective and efficient service delivery, and achieving the highest levels of client and employee satisfaction for CynergisTek’s security, privacy and compliance services. Denkers has nearly 20 years of experience in information security and consulting that includes markets such as finance, automotive, energy, manufacturing, and healthcare. With the threat landscape changing daily, this breadth of experience provides a unique perspective to the industry specific risks organizations face. He has been recognized for building, training, and optimizing team productivity. His strong focus on providing the operating framework, training, and development, and decisive leadership has empowered his teams to achieve tremendous success and drive business growth.

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