Computer hacking

Hospitals homing in on medical device cybersecurity

Computer with MRI scans
Computer showing MRI brain scans. Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Hospitals are pushing medical device makers to ensure the security of their products, a response to increased reports of cyberattacks and a growing recognition of their costs, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What's happening: Hospitals are running tests to detect device weaknesses, asking manufacturers to reveal proprietary software to assess vulnerabilities, and sometimes rejecting bids or canceling orders for devices that don't have adequate safety features.

Expert Voices

Remote kill switches meant to secure cars could create new risks

remote control with devil horns driving a car
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Recent reports have revealed that two remote GPS tracker and immobilizer products for vehicles, known as remote kill switches, are vulnerable to attack due to guessable default passwords.

The big picture: Remote kill switches were designed to prevent theft, but can be compromised and used to steal or hijack cars, target high-profile individuals in their private vehicles, or shut down roadways through mass immobilization. The more complex a connected car’s systems are, the more potential points of vulnerability it has, making the stakes especially high for AVs.