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Analyzing medical device connectivity and its effect on cyber security in german hospitals

  • Background: Modern healthcare devices can be connected to computer networks and many western healthcareinstitutions run those devices in networks. At the same time, cyber attacks are on the rise and there is evidence thatcybercriminals do not spare critical infrastructure such as major hospitals, even if they endanger patients. Intuitively,the more and closer connected healthcare devices are to public networks, the higher the risk of getting attacked. Methods: To asses the current connectivity status of healthcare devices, we surveyed the field of German hospitalsand especially University Medical Center UMCs. Results: The results show a strong correlation between the networking degree and the number of medical devices.The average number of medical devices is 25.150, with a median of networked medical devices of 3.600. Actual keyusers of networked medical devices are the departments Radiology, Intensive Care, Radio-Oncology RO, NuclearMedicine NUC, and Anaesthesiology in the group of UMCs. In the next five years, the usage of networked medicaldevices will increase significantly in the departments of Surgery, Intensive Care, and Radiology. We detected a strongcorrelation between the degree of connectivity and the likelihood of being attacked.The survey answers regarding the cyber security status reveal a lack of security basics in some of the inquiredhospitals. We did discover successful attacks in hospitals with separated or subsidiary departments. A fusion ofcompetencies on an organizational level facilitates the right behavior here. Most hospitals rated themselvespredominantly positively in the self-assessment but also stated the usefulness of IT security insurance.Conclusions:Concluding our results, hospitals are already facing the consequences of omitted measures within theirgrowing pool of medical devices. Continuously relying on historically grown structures without adaption and trustingmanufactures to solve vectors is a critical behavior that could seriously endanger patients.
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Author:Markus Willing, Christian Dresen, Uwe Haverkamp, Sebastian Schinzel
Publisher:BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making volume
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Date of Publication (online):2020/11/05
Date of first Publication:2020/09/29
Provider of the Publication Server:FH M√ľnster - University of Applied Sciences
Release Date:2020/11/06
Faculties:Elektrotechnik und Informatik (ETI)
Publication list:Schinzel, Sebastian
Licence (German):License LogoBibliographische Daten