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Hospitals are tragically open to hacking

Hospitals are tragically open to hacking
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

If you've spent any time in a hospital, you know you're putting your life in the hands of trained professionals. Nurses, for instance, spend years learning how to care for you, and doctors spend more than a decade perfecting their skills.

All that time and effort is to ensure that, when you're most vulnerable, these medical professionals can give you the best possible care. So, imagine how frightening it would be to be ill and put your life into the hands of Russian hackers.

That sounds like a terrible movie plot. But, sadly, it's a reality. We've been telling you that hospitals and all that lifesaving medical equipment they use, like pacemakers for your heart and blood gas analyzers (BPA), are vulnerable to hacker attacks. But, even we couldn't guess how bad it really is.

Hospitals and their network-connected devices are so poorly protected that, in July, the Food and Drug Administration issued its first-ever cybersecurity advisory about a medical device.

Specifically, the Hospira Symbiq infusion pump, because it's vulnerable to unauthorized users controlling the device. In other words, hacking it. It's "precedent setting," according to the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Next page: FDA responds to mountains of evidence
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