WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tools used in hospital settings to monitor patients’ health information, including heart rate and blood pressure, could be hacked because of a “bug” in the machine’s computer programming. Specifically, the General Electric Telemetry and Healthcare Clinical Information Central Stations are vulnerable to attack according to a recent warning announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the website news.beincrypto.com, the FDA published its warning to hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide. The bug could lead to incorrect readings if a hacker broke through the security wall and change the readings on the device. Moreover, FDA officials fear that hackers could create havoc with patients’ lives if the repairs are not made. General Electric and the FDA have each confirmed that no one has died as a consequence of this flaw.
GE told hospitals and other healthcare outlets about the possibility its devices could get hacked in November of 2019. GE said that it had prepared a remedy and a patch to repair its devices. However, the threat that a hacker could work his or her way into a machine designed to take a person’s heart rate, temp, and blood pressure, and then change the readings has the FDA on edge. The hackers would not necessarily invade the device attached to the patient. Instead, the cybersecurity failure is in the monitoring station located at the nurse’s central station. A change in the readings at the nurse’s station could cause a healthcare professional to administer incorrect treatments.
The FDA listed recommendations to reduce the chance a system is hacked. The suggested that facility information technology staff members use various techniques to deter or prevent a cyber invasion. The vulnerability in the device, before a patch is installed, would not identify an attack as a normal signal instead of a threat. GE did not say when the patches would be ready.
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