Experts warn of attacks against IoT devices in healthcare

Experten warnen vor Angriffen gegen IoT-Geräte im Gesundheitswesen


IoT Security in Healthcare

Check Point security researchers warn against the misuse of IoT devices as a gateway

Security provider Check Point warns that criminals are increasingly using IoT devices to gain unauthorized access to networks in hospitals. If the hackers gain access to a device, they can move laterally through the system, steal and encrypt data, and sabotage functions critical to everyday life.

IoT devices have become very important in hospitals, as they not only help simplify treatments, but can intelligently and automatically take over patient monitoring and documentation. However, IT security rarely enjoys a high priority in the design and manufacture of the individual devices. This circumstance, combined with the fact that about half of the connected devices, such as ultrasound and MRI devices, run on outdated operating systems that are no longer supported or maintained, creates a correspondingly large attack surface for hackers.

Christine Schönig, Regional Director Security Engineering CER, Office of the CTO at Check Point

“The number of IoT devices used in healthcare will increase sharply,” predicts Christine Schönig, Regional Director Security Engineering CER, Office of the CTO, at Check Point Software Technologies GmbH : “In some cases, these devices can decide life and death. Accordingly, it must be ensured that you – and thus the network itself-are protected against attacks. For this reason, hospitals should rely on solutions that create transparency in order to be able to close security gaps in a targeted manner. At the same time, a zero-trust approach is recommended for the entire network to minimize damage in the event of an intruder.“

In order to block the different attack paths, it is particularly important to pay attention to three aspects:

  1. Create full transparency. A comprehensive approach to device protection can only emerge when IT professionals are fully informed about all devices that access their network. Many companies still rely on finding and identifying devices manually. That may work as an environment for traditional servers and workstations, but it can’t keep up with the multitude of IoT devices as it requires an automated solution for full coverage.
  2. Mitigate vulnerabilities. Patches and real-time threat data are at the heart of any security program, which is why most companies have set up a patching program. But with most IoT devices, it’s almost impossible to stay on top of security research when companies rely only on software updates. Thus, these often escape important vulnerabilities in the devices themselves. A solution that delivers firmware upgrades therefore offers the best chance of success.
  3. Zero Trust Network Segmentation. Lateral movement means that once on the network, hackers can move freely and target certain devices, such as mail servers, to cause damage or access important information. It needs programs that simplify network segmentation, creating secure areas based on zero trust that are sealed off and allow access only to legitimate business needs and authorized individuals.

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