DHS funds research to harden medical devices against cyberattacks

DHS funds research to harden medical devices against cyberattacks

As fans of the Showtime series "Homeland" no doubt recall, even a pacemaker can be hacked. 

That assassination-by-cardiac-arrest was fictional, of course, but not entirely implausible.  (Former Vice President Dick Cheney went so far as to have his pacemaker's wireless functionality disabled due to security concerns.)  And now the Department of Homeland Security is funding research into new technologies to help protect pacemakers and other medical devices from cyberattacks. Such devices increasingly have Internet connectivity, but often lack security and are vulnerable to attacks.

The Medical Device Innovation, Safety and Security consortium, a public and private non-profit partnership, was awarded $1.8 million for its Medical Device Risk Assessment Platform project, which will develop a safe and secure national biomedical device network and an automated medical device risk management framework that integrates security in all phases of the device life cycle.

“We can no longer think of medical devices solely as instruments for patient care, but rather as networked systems, and as such, potentially vulnerable to cyberattacks,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Reginald Brothers.

The new project is part of DHS's larger Cyber Physical Systems Security program.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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