Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

08:35 AM
Connect Directly

Veterans Administration Adopts UL Security Certification Program For Medical Devices

Goal is to ensure network-connected medical devices purchased by the VA meet baseline security standards established by Underwriters Laboratories.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs will use a new program and a set of standards developed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to ensure that network-connectable medical devices and systems the VA procures meet baseline requirements for security.

The VA and UL this week entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement Program (CRADA) to facilitate the process. Under the agreement, the VA’s office of information technology will use UL’s Cybersecurity Assurance Program (CAP) to establish testable cybersecurity requirements for network-enabled medical devices, data systems, and associated technologies.

The program is scheduled for completion in December and is designed to support improvements in patient safety and security at the VA.

UL CAP, which Underwriters Laboratories announced earlier this year, which uses a newly created set of standards for IoT and critical infrastructure vendors to use for assessing security vulnerably and weaknesses in their products. features a set of standards, collectively referred to as UL 2900, that lets organizations asses network connected products for software vulnerabilities, known malware, and other security issues. The program combines input from multiple stakeholders from the federal government, academia, and industry.

The White House Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) officially recognizes UL’s CAP as a way to test and certify the security readiness of Internet connected products used in critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, healthcare, critical manufacturing, and utilities.

The VA’s plans to use UL CAP to refine its pre-procurement product vetting process are significant. Security vulnerabilities in network-enabled medical devices pose a significant risk to patient safety and security. Researchers in the past have demonstrated how security flaws in wireless enabled insulin pumps, pacemakers and heart monitors, and other medical devices can be exploited to deadly effect. 

In one demonstration five years ago, a security researcher at Black Hat USA showed how an attacker could shut down an insulin pump remotely by taking advantage of a security flaw in the device. In another demonstration, a security researcher showed how a flaw in a wireless-enabled pacemaker could be exploited to deliver a lethal shock to the wearer of the device. Malware in medical devices can also cause issues with reliability and availability of medical devices.

Concerns over the issue prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to issue draft cybersecurity guidelines and best practices for medical device makers earlier this year.

“Medical devices are susceptible to cybersecurity attacks, creating both patient safety risks and disclosure risks for protected health information,” the UL and VA said in a joint statement this week. The agreement “will seek to address an existing gap in the marketplace for cybersecurity standards and practical certification approaches for connected medical devices.”

Anura Fernando, global principal engineer at UL, says the CRADA project will accelerate the sharing of medical device cybersecurity information.

“Disclosure of potential cybersecurity concerns can be a sensitive topic when dealing with relationships across the supply chain,” Fernando says. “The UL CAP certification process provides mechanisms for having a blend of both public disclosures that can help the problems be effectively managed with minimal risk of public exposure or exploitation.”

Related stories


Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Hacking It as a CISO: Advice for Security Leadership
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
Buffer overflow in a subsystem for some Intel(R) Server Boards, Server Systems and Compute Modules before version 1.59 may allow a privileged user to potentially enable denial of service via local access.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
Uninitialized pointer in BIOS firmware for Intel(R) Server Board Families S2600CW, S2600KP, S2600TP, and S2600WT may allow a privileged user to potentially enable escalation of privilege via local access.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
Improper initialization in BIOS firmware for Intel(R) Server Board Families S2600ST, S2600BP and S2600WF may allow a privileged user to potentially enable escalation of privilege via local access.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
Unprotected Storage of Credentials vulnerability in McAfee Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Mac prior to 11.5.2 allows local users to gain access to the RiskDB username and password via unprotected log files containing plain text credentials.
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
Out-of-bounds write in Kernel Mode Driver for some Intel(R) Graphics Drivers before version may allow an authenticated user to potentially enable denial of service via local access.