Tag Archives: hacking

IoT = Internet of Things


Well, I learned a new acronym last week. Kinda catchy. And makes me chuckle. I’ve focused on wearables quite a bit on this site and talked about integration with the care provider’s systems. But, it seems, there is a whole world of “things” that I may have been leaving out -especially when it comes to cyber security. It’s the “Internet of Things”! And for those in healthcare IT we go even further to say IoMT – Internet of Medical Things.

The Internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices“), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data

The question, in relating it to healthcare apps, is whether this IoT keeps everything secure if only the methods and safeguards around laptops, desktops and the behind the scenes servers are secured. (My post stems from this article on the topic.) It seems that those in the know or working in healthcare IT believe that, yes, they are secure for those reasons. They also report that with the methods of monitoring their networks they can tell when something is “not behaving as intended.”

So let’s flip the situation: If that care provider’s IoT has been compromised and your device (iPhone, iPad, etc) connects to it at the provider’s office could it compromise your device?

Drilling down specifically into the vulnerabilities and security risks of IoMT devices, Beth Musumeci, vice president, cybersecurity at GE Healthcare, said the threat is significant, as connected health devices, by definition, “increase the attack surface.”

Though most health systems have made advancements on the cyber security front those small rural areas who have just been struggling to get internet at their facilities are well behind the ball of the huge health conglomerates. Another aspect is the massive numbers of IoMTs that must be addressed.

Rasu Shrestha, M.D., chief innovation officer at UPMC and executive vice president at UPMC Enterprises:

What’s more, providers are becoming increasingly dependent on Internet-based resources to facilitate patient care, Shrestha said, noting that UPMC has 105,000 connected devices to manage and support. These connected devices, which are connected to networks and the cloud, have the potential to act as a gateway to break into a hospital’s main networks

(take a look at the article here)

By 2020, 78.5 million number of people worldwide will be using home health technologies … By 2019, 87 percent of healthcare facilities will implement IoMT, up 60 percent from this year.

Cyber security, to me, seems to be a swiftly growing “next big thing” in IT. And that doesn’t apply to just the medical arena. It applies to your bank, your home internet, and the nail salon where you might connect to their internet while they paint your toenails pink.

Looks like we’ve got another topic to follow on here!

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How much is your healthcare information worth on the “black” market?


According to an article in Reuters, your information from a healthcare hack can sell for $20 or more on the black market. Why, you ask? Because that information is much easier to use to paint a whole picture of a person and their identity than the previously targeted financial data. They can use the healthcare data to receive medical care, obtain prescriptions, and use your social security number and date of birth to obtain credit in your name. With the financial sector locking down their information in response to the many hacks of late years the healthcare industry is an easier target as they have not been previously worried about hacking.

In a recent Washington Examiner article, it was reported that:

 Hackings of data from healthcare firms and doctors jumped over 1,800 percent from 2008-2013…

Reviewing Health and Human Services reports of data breaches where more than 500 patients were exposed, the Brookings Institution found that the number went from just 13 in 2008 to 256 in 2013, impacting 9 million in 2014.

Healthcare systems that are hacked and have the weak security can/will be fined up to $1.5 million dollars – which should serve as incentive to tighten up that security.

What does this mean to you? It means you should keep an eye on your credit, listen to the news for reports of hacking, and you might even ask your health care provider and other healthcare entities if their security is appropriate. Of course, most of those clinical providers on the front end (those doctors & nurses) probably can’t answer the question as it lies deeper in the organization or operations, such as the information technology department, so don’t be too upset if they can’t tell ya about it.

Thoughts?


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