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Ransomware Hits Medical Devices; Security Becomes Even More Important

By June 6, 2017May 25th, 2021Cybersecurity

As much attention as the recent, worldwide “Wannacry” ransomware attack got for bringing the UK’s health system to its knees and idling factories around the globe, it had another, less noticed, but no less important and terrifying impact.

An unnamed source recently released a screenshot of a “smart” medical device that had been locked and rendered inaccessible, thanks to the malware.

The device, a Bayer Medrad, which is used for imaging MRIs, is one of two devices known to have been hacked. The company assured the public that both devices saw functionality restored within 24 hours, but this event raises a pair of important issues.

First, “smart” devices don’t really deserve the name. Yes, they’re internet capable, but smart, they are not.

Worse, almost none of the smart devices being made and sold today have any protection or security at all. The few that do boast some sort of security only offer basic, bare bones, primitive protections that any teen-aged hacker with a limited tool set could circumvent.

That brings us to the much larger and more ominous second problem. An increasing number of peoples’ lives literally depend on the proper functioning of these devices.
We have now entered an era where a computer virus can kill a human being.

Imagine being hooked up to a machine, without which, you may die. Now imagine that machine being infected by malware, with the hackers demanding hundreds of dollars to restore its functionality.

It’s no longer a question of if that will eventually lead to a death, it’s a matter of when. The worst part is that we could be doing much more to make those kinds of attacks harder, and we’re not. Thus far, the makers of smart devices have been largely uninterested in bolstering security on the products they sell, and one day, probably in the not-too-distant future, someone is going to pay with their life for the lack of foresight.

Jason Manteiga

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.

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