Securing IoMT Devices: Best Practices for Hospitals to Prevent Cyberattacks
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) has revolutionized the healthcare industry, connecting medical devices to the internet and allowing for greater patient care. However, with this new technology comes new security threats. Hospitals must be aware of these risks and understand how to find, fix and secure connected medical devices to protect their patients from cyberattacks.
This article will discuss examples of cyberattacks on hospitals, best practices for securing connected medical devices, the role of advanced automation in preventing IoMT security breaches and how data analytics can help organizations monitor security issues.
Overview of IoT medical device security threats in hospitals
Revolutionizing healthcare, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) connects medical devices to the web, promoting improved patient care. Unfortunately, this technology also brings a risk — cyberattacks.
To safeguard connected medical devices from malicious actors, healthcare facilities must be aware of these threats and understand proper precautionary measures to take. According to a recent report, 43% of hospitals have been victims of ransomware in the past year.
Cyberattacks on hospitals can range from data breaches to ransomware attacks. And IoMT devices are vulnerable without the proper security measures in place. Implementing advanced automation and data analytics tools can prevent these risks by detecting IoMT security threats in real time.
Additionally, advanced automation solutions can automate processes like patching (with the assistance of the healthcare device manufacturer) and updating software operating systems, ensuring all systems are up-to-date with the latest defense measures against cyberattacks.
Automated solutions can also monitor network traffic for suspicious activity or unauthorized access to health data. Automation also has the added benefit of freeing up time for IT staff so they can focus on other critical tasks, such as responding quickly to potential security threats.
Data analytics is another key tool for securing connected medical devices. Data analytics solutions allow healthcare organizations to monitor their systems in real time for anomalies or malicious activities that could indicate a breach or attack is underway. By analyzing large volumes of data, organizations can identify trends or patterns that may indicate an attack is occurring before it becomes too late.
The combination of automation and data analytics makes it possible for healthcare organizations to protect their IoMT devices from malicious actors while still providing quality patient care at a lower cost than manual processes would allow.
To ensure the security of their connected medical devices, hospitals must be aware of the risks posed by IoMT technology and understand how best practices such as advanced automation and data analytics tools can help them find, fix and secure even the most complex threats.
Examples of cyberattacks on hospitals
Many hospitals are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks due to their reliance on connected medical devices, not updating their security standards and having limited resources available for security measures. Ransomware is one of the most common attack types seen in healthcare settings, but other threats such as phishing, emails, malware and malicious insiders can also lead to data loss.
In August of this year, a cyberattack disrupted hospital computer systems in several states, including Pennsylvania, forcing some emergency rooms to close and ambulances to be diverted, and many primary care services remained closed for several days.
In 2020, several hospitals around the world were hit by ransomware attacks that led to critical systems being locked down or disrupted entirely. For one hospital in Germany, the attack lasted over three weeks and resulted in delayed treatments for some patients while IT personnel worked around the clock to prevent further damage and gain control over their systems again. The financial cost of this breach was estimated at upwards of $1 million USD.
In addition to financial costs related to a cyberattack, there are also reputational costs associated with it. Patients may lose trust in an organization if they learn that their personal data has been compromised or that treatment delays occurred due to an attack on the hospital’s system infrastructure.
Additionally, legal actions may be taken against hospitals for failing to follow industry regulations when it comes to protecting sensitive patient information from cyber threats.
The importance of finding, fixing and securing connected medical devices can't be overstated. Failure can have serious consequences, both financially and reputationally, for healthcare organizations involved. Investing in advanced automation and data analytics tools alongside compliance with regulatory standards is essential for reducing risk from cybersecurity threats within hospitals today.
How to identify and classify cyber threats on IoMT devices
Using connected medical devices in healthcare facilities has created a range of security risks. To protect against the potential dangers posed by IoMT devices, it's critical to understand how to identify and classify cyber threats on these devices.
First, hospitals should conduct thorough risk assessments on each device to evaluate its vulnerability to attack. This assessment entails examining all aspects of the device, including software, hardware, communication protocols and other potential weak points that could be taken advantage of by malicious actors. It's essential that particular attention is paid to any known or plausible attack vectors.
When the assessment process is finished, organizations must then categorize the threats according to patient safety, patient confidentiality and service availability. High-risk issues should take precedence when dealing with vulnerabilities and preventing future attacks, as they are more likely to cause substantial damage. Low-risk concerns may still pose a risk if left unaddressed but may not always require immediate action depending on the situation.
Ultimately, hospitals must maintain strategies for mitigating cyber threats associated with IoMT devices over time. These strategies include:
- Patching and updating software systems when new risks are detected.
- Employing advanced automation tools such as machine learning algorithms.
- Monitoring network traffic for anomalies or malicious behavior.
- Adhering to regulatory standards like HIPAA and GDPR.
Embracing these measures means healthcare providers can reduce their exposure while creating safe spaces for patients and staff alike.
Best practices for securing connected medical devices
Healthcare organizations must take steps to protect their IoMT systems from cyberattacks and malicious activities. Regularly patching and updating software is a must, along with establishing an access control policy for authorized personnel only.
Authentication measures such as two-factor authentication or biometric scanning are also important to safeguard patient data. Encryption of stored data is critical for protecting confidential information from unauthorized access, while firewalls and IPS protect against external threats and malware.
In addition to these measures, healthcare organizations should conduct frequent vulnerability scans to identify any potential weaknesses in the system that maybe exploited by attackers. Advanced analytics tools can help detect anomalies in device behavior, which may signal a possible attack, allowing organizations to quickly act before serious damage can occur.
With real-time visibility into the state of your systems, the organization can respond to operational and security issues with network isolation to ensure that vulnerable devices are no longer putting other devices at risk and provide recommendations on how to deal with those threats.
The role of advanced automation in preventing IoMT security breaches
The prevalence of cyberattacks on healthcare organizations has made advanced automation an essential component of IoMT security. Automation can keep IoMT devices up to date with the latest security patches, detect anomalies in user behavior and device activities and quickly identify and block suspicious network connections or malicious files. Additionally, automation helps hospitals minimize their risk of a breach by ensuring their systems are always secure.
Advanced automation solutions combine real-time analytics with AI algorithms to monitor user behavior patterns for any signs of malicious activity. By using these solutions, hospitals can detect threats such as an unauthorized user attempting to access a secure system resource or an abnormal increase in outbound network traffic — allowing quick response before the attack becomes serious, minimizing disruption and financial losses.
Automating routine tasks also helps reduce alert fatigue for hospital staff — freeing up time so they can focus on other important security issues that require human intervention. Furthermore, automated monitoring strategies provide 24/7 protection against potential threats while personnel are offsite or unavailable.
With automated tools at their disposal, healthcare organizations can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and ensure that their systems remain safe and secure from harm.
How to leverage data analytics for IoMT security monitoring
Analyzing data generated by connected medical devices is essential for improving IoMT security. By leveraging the power of data analytics, healthcare organizations can quickly identify any anomalies or suspicious activities and take appropriate action to address them.
Automating security processes also ensures that all devices are running on the latest software versions with the most up-to-date patches from the healthcare device manufacturer. Ultimately, leveraging data analytics provides hospitals and other healthcare organizations with an effective way to monitor IoMT security in real time and ensure their systems remain secure from cyberattacks.
Want to learn more? Visit Ivanti's webinar discussing ways to find, fix and prioritize healthcare device threats.