Vulnerabilities / Threats
2/25/2014
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Healthcare Devices: Security Researchers Sound Alarms

Default usernames, weak passwords, and widespread Windows XP Embedded systems are cause for concern, SANS Institute researchers say

Who wants to be hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine that's been compromised by fraudsters?

That's one alarming prospect facing hospital goers, according to a "Healthcare Cyberthreat Report" published this week by the SANS Institute (registration required). The study is based on data collected from September 2012 to October 2013 by the security vendor Norse via millions of endpoint sensors and honeypots located in enterprise networks, large-scale datacenters, and major Internet exchanges. It reveals widespread health-network configuration and patching problems, as well as other fundamental errors involving information security.

As a result, during that 13-month period, researchers found evidence that 375 different healthcare networks had been compromised by attackers. "We were shocked at [the number of] devices that were wide open to the Internet that would provide adversaries with considerable power and access not only for a breach, but -- for those who are skilled -- even to conduct malicious acts," Sam Glines, CEO of Norse, told us by phone.

Read the full article here.

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Mathew Schwartz is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer, as well the InformationWeek information security reporter. View Full Bio

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