Medical appliance hinges on ‘high-risk’ patients
Medical appliances used to diagnose cancer patients can be vulnerable to cyberattacks, a new report by security firm CrowdStrike says.
The report says that medical devices such as CT scanners and MRI scanners can be infected with malicious code that can allow hackers to perform arbitrary code and remote code execution.
In a blog post Thursday, CrowdStrike researchers said a new class of malicious code known as “Hook” or “Hacking Toolkit” could be used to infect devices such a medical imaging system or a computer network.
The malicious code can run on the operating system itself, on USB flash drives, USB flash storage devices, network storage devices and other USB devices, the researchers wrote.
It can also be used on an Android or iOS device to access sensitive information.
Hook can also attack device drivers, the software used to control the device, and the software that connects the device to the internet.
The threat is serious because a single, widespread infection can result in the loss of critical medical devices and systems, the analysts wrote.
“Hook is a new and evolving threat that is becoming more sophisticated and sophisticated as it moves from an existing malware vector, to a new, sophisticated attack vector that exploits new weaknesses in medical device drivers,” CrowdStrike’s CEO Dmitri Alperovitch wrote in a blog posting.
“A common theme in the malware samples and related software is that they use a variety of new techniques to attack medical devices.
In this new context, it becomes more and more difficult to defend against a large-scale attack.
The researchers believe that, given the scale of the current threat, it is unlikely that the current state of medical device security can be maintained.”
CrowdStrike said the new “Hooks” malware has been “passed from the wild to malicious actors and has been used to target several medical device manufacturers and systems.”
The researchers warned that the new Hook malware, which has not been linked to any other attacks, poses a “real and significant threat” to the health of millions of Americans.
Crowdstrike’s researchers are now working with other security researchers and medical device companies to find ways to protect medical devices that could be affected by the new malware.
The company is not disclosing the names of the medical devices targeted by the malicious code.