A Recipe for Reducing Medical Device Internet of Things Risk

A Recipe for Reducing Medical Device Internet of Things Risk

You may recall this blog post from March 2020. It highlighted the importance of factoring in clinical, organizational, financial and regulatory impact when determining which medical Internet-of-Things (IoMT) security vulnerabilities should be fixed first. Consider this post a part two. Whereas the previous post focused on the fact that IoMT devices are here to stay and finding and prioritizing vulnerabilities based on impact cannot be overlooked, this post highlights an up and coming security challenge.

Interconnected Devices Need Interconnected Risk Measurement

The healthcare system today uses various security technologies for connected devices, many of which assign a risk score to vulnerabilities. The score is meant to help hospital security teams understand and prioritize vulnerabilities that elevate risk. Those technologies, however, use different formulas to calculate the risk score. Furthermore, they are often focused on technical risk rather than the clinical impact on the hospital in terms of patient safety or disruption of a physician’s workflow.

For example, while some scanning tools provide a score based on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), medical device security platforms (MDSPs) monitor what devices are doing, collect data, apply machine learning, build behavioral models and calculate a risk score. Both technologies view risk through a technical lens.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has its own health care device classification formula. It focuses on a vulnerability’s associated exploit, what an attacker can do with the exploit and the potential harm that can be done. Again, these elements are viewed through a technical lens, not including the clinical impact on the hospital.

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