“Hackers cripple large Swiss companies“, “Cyber attacks in Switzerland – Melani warns urgently” or “Cyber criminals plunder assets of Digitec Galaxus customers” – headlines like these have kept the media busy in the last few months. One could now believe it is only well-known large companies, online merchants or media-effective platforms which are the targets of hacker attacks.
Far off: data theft, misuse of data or unauthorized network access affects all industries and no company is spared. The healthcare sector is also increasingly confronted with the task of checking processes and services for their security gaps and securing against attacks.
Security gaps on medical devices are increasing
The NZZ newspaper reported on a case in the United States in in which hackers paralyzed the network of a medical device manufacturer and released it only by paying the required ransom. Of course, we’re in Europe and not the United States, but there are also cases in Switzerland that are affecting the healthcare industry. For example, anesthesia and respiration devices may be manipulated via hospital networks through security gaps or devices such as infusion pumps or cardiac pacemakers may be changed by external access. The mentioned examples, however, are only those cases which are made public after all. And who likes to be in the limelight with security gaps?
“Friendly hacking” as a useful solution?
The security breaches, that have also found their way into manufacturers of medical devices as a result of increasing digitalization, are not ignored as a result. Instead, manufacturers are relying on the commitment of so-called “friendly hackers”. These hackers test and check in a protected environment what target areas the devices offer and ensure adaptation before they are launched on the market. However, this provides a feeling of security and is much better than simply hoping nothing would happen.
Early detection and elimination of security gaps
But when it comes to really focusing on security, prevention starts much earlier – with the engagement of a cyber security expert. This expert provides effective protection for processes, applications, data and networks, which means that security gaps as described above can be detected and eliminated at an earlier stage. Such an expert, for example creates the conditions for healthcare organizations to implement their digitization strategy through a Web Access Management solution and meet their information security and data protection obligations – whether on-premise or in a shared cloud environment.
This ensures the latest medical devices remain in use, patients receive the best service and healthcare companies are free to focus on efficiency and flexibility.
United Security Providers already is the well-known security partner in the healthcare industry – after all, the cyber security expert is already protecting the applications, services, imaging devices and processes of most Swiss university, cantonal and regional hospitals. United Security Providers is therefore playing a valuable role in ensuring that organizations such as the Inselspital Bern, the Universitätsspital Zürich or the Kantonsspital Graubünden do not end up in the headlines of any media.
Teresa Schmidt ist seit Juni 2017 als Marketing & Communications Specialist bei United Security Providers tätig.