A huge proportion of internet-connected imaging devices at hospitals run outdated operating systems, according to research released Tuesday by Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity firm.
Hackers could have a variety of motivations for targeting devices in hospitals. Imaging and other medical devices, such as infusion pumps and patient monitoring systems, could all be vulnerable to ransomware attacks, Olson said, noting that hospitals have already that locked down their systems and demanded payment to get them back. They could also use the machines’ computing power to mine for cryptocurrency, an attack called cryptojacking. That could cause overheating or malfunction in the device.
The research looked at 1.2 million internet-connected devices total in hospitals and other businesses. It’s a small portion of the 4.8 billion internet-connected devices that business analysis firm Gartner said existed in 2019. The data comes from Palo Alto Network customers, who use a service called Zingbox to examine all the devices connecting to their networks. The research doesn’t name specific brands of imaging devices.