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June 26 2013

A New Cyber Concern: Hack Attacks on Medical Devices


Computer viruses do not discriminate. Malware prowling the cybersphere for bank information and passwords does not distinguish between a home computer or a hospital machine delivering therapy to a patient. Even if a radiation therapy machine, say, is infiltrated unintentionally, malware could theoretically cause radiation doses to spike.

Medical device-makers need to protect their products from cyber attack, according to recent draft guidance the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA calls for medical device manufacturers to consider the vulnerabilities that crop up when medical devices are designed to be more thoroughly integrated into networks and connected to the Internet.

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