US Pumps $50M Into Better Healthcare Cyber Resilience

Upgrade, an ARPA-H program, will focus on automating cybersecurity for healthcare institutions so that providers can focus on patient care.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

May 22, 2024

2 Min Read
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The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) pledged $50 million to bring together hospital IT staff, equipment managers, and cybersecurity experts to create software that helps hospitals become cyber-resilient.

ARPA-H, a funding agency created by the Biden administration, is centered on investing in breakthrough technologies in the medical and healthcare field.

The program, called Universal Patching and Remediation for Autonomous Defense (Upgrade), aims to automate cyber threat solutions and create a platform that will evaluate potential vulnerabilities through simulations and "adapt to any hospital environment across a wide array of common devices."

The program is focused on four technical areas, including creation of vulnerability management, as well as auto-detection of vulnerabilities and custom defenses. Upgrade also is looking to develop methods to quickly and automatically detect software vulnerabilities, and to develop defenses for each vulnerability detected.

This program is being launched to address the diversity of hospitals and the care they provide, the devices they use, and the kinds of patients they serve. Because there are such significant differences from among hospitals, creating up-to-date security programs that address cybersecurity vulnerability problems is difficult. The differences also can lead to delays in necessary developments and software fixes, which can leave devices vulnerable, leaving sensitive information, necessary tools, and patients at risk

"Even short disruptions to IT systems can critically impact patient services, especially as the devices most critical for patient health and safety are among the least protected," the ARPA-H blog post stated. "The complexities in securing the number and variety of internet-enabled medical devices may unwittingly open health care systems to ransomware and other cyberattacks."

The Upgrade program is looking for teams to submit proposals on each of the four technical areas it will focus on. More information on the Upgrade program can be found on the program's website.

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Dark Reading Staff

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