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Report: Networked medical devices present security, privacy risks

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Although networked medical devices can offer benefits to patients, they can also present privacy and security risks that can threaten patients, according to a report by Intel Security and Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative.

The report, The Healthcare Internet of Things: Rewards and Risks, offers advice on how to maximize the value of medical devices while minimizing security risks. Providers can easily track and adjust these devices, often without performing invasive procedures. In addition, these devices could help the healthcare industry save $63 billion over the next five years, according to the report.

However, medical devices present privacy concerns because hackers can access the device data, according to the report. Healthcare data is especially valuable to hackers and has become the target of several major attacks, including that of Anthem, Inc., and Premera Blue Cross.

Hackers, thieves, spies, and terrorists can exploit information technology to commit crimes. This is especially problematic with medical devices, since the patient is wearing the device and an attack on it could be life-threatening, according to the report.

The Healthcare Internet of Things: Rewards and Risks offers the following recommendations for protecting device privacy and security:

  • Improve private-private and public-private collaboration
  • Consider security when devices are conceived or manufactured
  • Change regulatory approval for devices
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