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Cyber Attacks can Kill

It’s the 3rd in our scary seasonal series of blogs and probably the most alarming yet!

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned that a life-threatening cyber attack will almost certainly take place soon.

In its 2nd annual review the NCSC has revealed it has handled 1,167 cyber incidents, including 557 in the last 12 months.

Most of the attacks “were undertaken by groups of computer hackers directed, sponsored or tolerated by the governments of those countries”, writes Ciaran Martin, CEO of the NCSC.

Could a cyber-attack potentially kill thought? The answer is yes!  How? Through medical devices.

Many medical devices can be vulnerable to security breaches, potentially impacting the safety and effectiveness of the device, the issue is that devices such as Pacemakers, MRI Machines, ECG machines weren’t built for security or to defend against attacks, they were designed to be user friendly and making patient care faster and more user friendly.

At Blackhat security conference, researchers were able to hack a device live on stage and expose how easy it is to hack pacemakers and insulin pumps and even a patient’s vital signs.

Patients don’t have to be attached to life saving devices for a cyber-attack to have a catastrophic effect. During the global WannaCry outbreak, ransomware infected at least 1,220 pieces of NHS diagnostic equipment, with more being disconnected to stop it spreading further, this meant that access to machines such as ultrasound scans and cardiac monitors would have been compromised and delayed. This could have fatal results as it could result in a delay in diagnosis and therefore treatment.

Best practice to avoid a medical device hack

  • Don’t underestimate the power of the firewall – The firewall is the cornerstone of security in enterprise networks and the desktop world. Most attacks will never reach past the firewall level in the device., if the firewall is correctly deployed.
  • Layer then layer again– Layered defence is important, think about encryption and authentication protocols
  • Consider the human element – Consider who has access and how devices are used. Sometimes the biggest threat is an internal one and disgruntled employees or a lack of expertise can have a severe impact.


To find out more about cyber security and how to protect your business from cyber attacks please get in touch. Our team are happy to help and to celebrate cyber security month we are offering businesses a FREE cyber security assessment courtesy of Cisco

To claim yours and find out just how safe your systems are call us on 0800 668 1266 or email