Growing Threat to Medical Gadgets: Malware

FDA calls on manufacturers to devise security plans

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 14, 2013 11:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – What happens when malware attacks the very devices keeping us healthy? The threat has the FDA concerned, the Wall Street Journal reports: "We are aware of hundreds of medical devices that have been infected by malware," says a senior official. Thus far, there haven't been any known deaths or injuries associated with the computer viruses, but the agency is urging device manufacturers to develop cyberattack security plans in their applications for FDA approval.

At least 327 VA hospital devices have been infected with malware since 2009, with more than 40 viruses attacking X-ray and lab gear from General Electric and Siemens, among other companies, the Journal reports. The widespread Conficker software hit 104 devices at a Florida facility; in Boston, a virus prompted a device to fire out patient information to external servers; a New Jersey catheterization lab was closed amid a malware attack on devices for opening blocked arteries. Increasingly computerized medical records are heightening concerns. Complicating the issue: Hospitals and manufacturers disagree over who should pay for fixes. Click through for the full piece.

Medical devices are facing a threat from malware.
Medical devices are facing a threat from malware.   (Photo: Business Wire)
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