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Securing IoMT: Why IoT Security is Crucial in the Healthcare Industry

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The Internet of Medical Things or IoMT has become an essential component of healthcare. We now rely on wearable medical health devices and remote monitoring to ensure many healthcare patient’s well-being. IoMT has become a revolutionary form of technology that has improved patient care tremendously; however, this technology also comes with new challenges including cybersecurity risks.

IoMT devices are at risk of malicious attacks and data breaches that can expose patient records and confidential information that could be sold illegally. Recently, in 2021, the United States experienced a breach across 500 healthcare delivery organizations that resulted in 40 million patient records being exposed. These attacks are becoming even more aggressive as IoMT becomes more prevalent in the healthcare industry.

Many of these attacks occur in connected devices, but hospitals and medical vendors also need to protect their networks from an onslaught of individual device attacks that seem to appear overnight. As the focus is placed on identifying these devices, security issues continue to grow and evolve beyond the capabilities of traditional IT protections. The number and types of Operating Systems used in medical devices have grown dramatically, as have the long-life cycles of these devices, making patching difficult and slow. IoT has been a transformative aspect in modernizing the healthcare industry, but it has also made data and patient protection more challenging.

Some of the cybersecurity concerns in the healthcare industry include:

  • Hacked Devices
  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Data Theft

Thousands of manufacturers produce millions of medical devices, each with critical issues that may impact patient care. These devices can get hacked and data can be stolen to be sold on the black market for identity theft purposes. Oftentimes, identity theft is used in an attempt to get compensation for healthcare services. Other times, ransomware can prevent organizations from accessing their systems unless they are paid a ransom. Personal patient data including Lucrative Personal Health Information (PHI) records are sold on the black market for hundreds of dollars, much more than the average stolen credit card would go for. This makes hospitals a key target for hacks that can take millions of dollars and years to recover from.

Not only are these hacks and security concerns a major issue for hospitals and medical organizations, but they also impact the patient’s lives who have had their data breached or stolen. Furthermore, they have a severe effect on the already strained healthcare industry which was exacerbated by the pandemic.

These cybersecurity risks in IoMT among the healthcare industry are not likely to improve as ransomware attacks were predicted to quadruple between 2017 and 2020 and they continue to be an issue today. We need to place more emphasis on the security of healthcare systems, equipment, and IoMT devices so that patient data can be protected.

At Allegro Software, we work with medical device manufacturers in the healthcare industry to provide IoT Edge security and connectivity software toolkits that are field proven in 250M+ devices. We are dedicated to creating connected secure devices in the healthcare industry and across many other essential industries. Reach out and schedule a call with us if you’d like to learn more about how we may be able to assist you with securing your devices.

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