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David Phillips / AP

Sapient Health's David Nickelson explains how the recent global cyber ransomware attack on hospital IT systems "is just the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to hacking opportunities in the health care industry, per the Harvard Business Review. Nickelson argues that cyber attacks on implanted or wearable medical devices are a much more serious threat.

The takeaways:

  • "Researchers in Belgium and the U.K. have demonstrated that it's possible to transmit life-threatening (if not fatal) signals to implanted medical devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, and insulin pumps."
  • The electronic medical device market is estimated to hit $398 billion this year alone, but hospital IT networks "remain slow to address longstanding cybersecurity challenges that raise both privacy and potentially fatal health concerns."
  • Another red flag: older devices manufactured prior to 2014 — when the FDA issued its guidance — that aren't equipped with the updated software.

Nickelson's advice for reducing cyber risks:

  • "Asses device cybersecurity during procurement"; "Require basic cyber hygiene"; "Proactively access risks and patch vulnerabilities"; and "Stay alert and informed."
  • Start imposing penalties for noncompliance so that more attention is given to cybersecurity.

Go deeper

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.