IoT is becoming a key player in healthcare. Medics and researchers are leveraging technology to improve healthcare and make ground-breaking research. However, with new technology, risks are lurking around that must be taken care of.
System vulnerabilities can cause great harm when exploited by malicious individuals. Here is where understanding risks during development and production is crucial to safeguarding sensitive patient data and protecting critical medical infrastructure.
Navigating the Risks
There are many risks involved with devices operating on the internet. Attackers are always loking for security loopholes they can exploit. The first risk is unsecured access due to weak passwords, lack of 2FA, or backdoors on the devices or software.
Data breaches are also an issue. Sensitive patient or research information can fall into the wrong hands. This often leads to privacy violations, and in extreme cases, hackers can sell the data on the dark web.
Another risk worth mentioning is device hijacking. Hackers getting access to the device software can manipulate the code, forcing it to deliver malware, disrupt data collection, or even harm patients, as explained in this article by Empeek. In other cases, the hackers can use DoS (denial-of-service) attacks to harm service delivery and performance in health and research facilities.
Addressing Security Issues
Right off the bat, developers must build hardware and software following industry best practices. Ensure that the devices have powerful security features, including 2FA and data and password encryption. Moreover, regularly update the software to take advantage of new security features.
Network security is another significant security factor. IoT devices will always be a target, and creating a dedicated network can be your first line of defense. Invest in a firewall for your network and use VPNs to encrypt data sent to and from your servers.
Having a solid incidence response plan is also essential. Do you have a backup for your data? What happens if there is a ransomware attack? All of these are important considerations when deploying healthcare IoT devices. Establish clear procedures for identifying, reporting, and containing security incidents.
Best Practices for a Secure System
Building quality software and hardware is the first step towards eliminating security risks. Developers must prioritize security measures based on the potential impact of vulnerabilities. End-users must be trained on data safety and security procedures.
While you’re at it, ensure the devices follow the established security frameworks like HIPAA and IEC 62333. This will protect you in case of an attack on your systems. Ensure that your devices only collect and store only essential patient data and anonymize when possible. Hospitals and research facilities have been sued for large sums for not following security frameworks in their systems.
Work with developers who will offer long-term system support. The team will patch vulnerabilities promptly to stay ahead of evolving threats.
IoT devices are always a target of hackers with malicious intent. However, this doesn’t mean a stop to the use of technology in healthcare or other industries. Healthcare providers can harness the power of IoT by acknowledging the risks, addressing the issues, and implementing best practices.