Hackernoon logoHow Safe Is Healthcare Technology From Hackers? by@alorphillips

How Safe Is Healthcare Technology From Hackers?

Avery Phillips Hacker Noon profile picture

@alorphillipsAvery Phillips

Healthcare technology is evolving more and more each day, with blockchain, telemedicine and 3D printers being used by medical professionals around the country. But one question still remains to be answered: Can this technology be hacked into? If so, that could mean dangerous consequences for medical records, and sensitive information could be compromised. Throughout this article, we’ll examine how security can potentially be threatened by this technology and give tips on how organizations can ensure their information is secure.

Can 3D Printers Be Hacked?

While 3D printing can sometimes take several hours and be extremely difficult when designing products, this hasn’t stopped industries from utilizing it to the best of its abilities. Several companies such as Adidas and GE are using 3D printing to advance production and manufacturing. Using digital files, 3D printers can produce a plethora of three-dimensional solid objects.

Hospitals are taking advantage of this technology to make historic strides in the healthcare industry. 3D printing is creating innovations in the field of radiology, a science helping to diagnose and treat diseases using medical imaging technology. According to the University of Cincinnati, “3D printing is just now come into style across the radiology realm, as professionals can leverage it for educational, research and other purposes.

But are 3D printers completely safe from hackers? As Harvard Business Review points out, closed systems have dominated the 3D printing industry within the last 10 years. This means 3D printers can only be accessed with the manufacturer’s resin and software. But several companies are shifting to a more open system, which allows for many advantages but also threatens security. “Once introduced into an open environment, a virus can spread faster through multiple parties and flows of information than in a closed system,” Harvard Business Review said.

Hackers often target individuals through shutting down servers, corrupting data and breaking into computer databases, but 3D printing takes the possibilities of hacking to new and frightening levels. By corrupting a 3D printer file, hackers can cause product failures and trigger injuries, product recalls and litigations. Researchers across the country are now figuring out ways to combat these cyberattacks and one method of prevention could be as simple as listening to what sounds the 3D printer makes.

Can Blockchain Be Hacked?

Blockchain, which helps keep track of transactions within machines, is already being used by a variety of different industries in groundbreaking ways. From insurance agencies to record companies, blockchain technology is revolutionizing the way industries store and track data. Medical professionals are able to manage data and conduct research more effectively by using blockchain technology. There is even blockchain technology with the ability to track the degree of cleanliness in hospitals by monitoring hand hygiene.

With blockchain networks being used by so many different organizations around the world, do we know whether or not it’s safe from hackers? Blockchain technology is indeed vulnerable to hackers, and there are many avenues within these systems where hackers can strike. Users of blockchain networks are given private keys, which are used to sign account transactions, and if hackers receive access to it, they could potentially steal information and corrupt data. The security of a blockchain platform can be compromised through software errors as well, which occur during the development of software implementation.

Blockchain technology is as susceptible to hackers as any other systems and users need to have the skills necessary to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. There are several apps that can help prevent cyber-attacks in blockchain networks such as Civic, which prevents identities from being stolen, and Biometrics.io, which uses face recognition technology to identify users. Using these tools, companies can keep their networks secure and ensure their data is safe against hackers.

Can Telemedicine Be Hacked?

Telemedicine is becoming more and more prevalent in the medical field, and it’s benefiting citizens from rural communities greatly. There are now even at-home diagnostic tools available such as electrocardiogram ECG devices, which can keep track of heart health and detect when a heart attack is taking place. There are several smartphone apps helping to advance the possibilities of telemedicine such as the recently announced MinuteClinic service by CVS, which allows users to be diagnosed and treated by doctors through a video conversation on their smartphone.

Even though this technology is helping more communities find medical care and providing an easier form of treatment and diagnosis, is it really as safe from hackers as we may think? While telemedicine is considered safer than many other forms of healthcare technology, hackers can still use several types of ransomware to keep the operation of a medical device hostage and steal data.

Ransomware is a technique used by hackers to extract payment or information, in which a target’s computer is locked until the hacker’s demands are met. Ransomware is usually performed through encryption tactics, and hackers typically order to be paid in a form of online currency such as bitcoin. These type of cyberattacks are at an all-time high, and it’s important to know what to do when you’re targeted.

To avoid privacy and security issues, telemedicine networks are required to comply with the HIPAA, which stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act helped to make medical records private and keep health information from getting in the hands of hackers. Telemedicine technology is required to abide by HIPAA’s guidelines, which include implementing a system of secure communication, allowing only authorized users to receive access to services and putting safeguards in place to prevent accidental or malicious breaches. By following these rules, telemedicine technology is more secure and fewer cyber-attacks occur.


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