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OEMs in danger of 'failing' healthcare by ignoring medical device security, research finds

18 Oct 2016

The global medical device market is in danger of failing if cybersecurity concerns are not addressed, new research from ABI Research has found.

Connected medical devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and integrated into healthcare IT will 'seriously undermine patient safety' if proper security is ignored, the company says.

"We estimate spending by healthcare providers and OEMs on healthcare cybersecurity to reach $5.5 billion by 2016. However, only $390 million of that will be dedicated to securing medical devices," says Michela Menting, research director at ABI Research. ABI research believes that medical device cybersecurity will be boosted from spending by OEMs. The OEMs will embed security in hardware, test, update and analyse devices. This is in addition to an extra focus on data protection.

However, the company says that medical devices are plagued with vulnerabilities, including coding errors, disabled firewalls, unencrypted communications and others.

"Healthcare stakeholders have to understand that there is a new hostile environment that will emerge around networked medical devices and that threat actors have multiple levels of skills and diverging motivations for attacking the medical IoT," Menting explains.

The global investment and collaboration in medical device protection is only just beginning, and the company has found that global efforts are 'poor'. The United States is the only country dedicating 'significant' resources looking into the issue.

However, the growing awareness of proper device security will boost spending by triple the amount by 2021.

"Investment in medical device cybersecurity is critical in order to deliver the full promise of next-generation healthcare technology. OEMs and healthcare providers taking part in the discussion today will be the pioneers forming the foundation of future cybersecurity for medical devices," Menting concludes.

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