Cybersecurity for Medical Devices

WannaCry

In 2015 Forrester Research released their Cybersecurity predictions for the coming year. Prediction Number 1;

“We will see Ransomware for a Medical Device or Wearable”

That attack happened in April 2017 when the WannaCry Ransomware spread across the world, affecting over 200 countries.

Infecting nearly 300,000 Windows systems, WannaCry also hit hospitals, including the UK national health Service (NHS) and facilities in the US. Temporarily shutting-down health systems and restricting  patients access to treatment, WannaCry’s impact on the Hospital Systems was particularly acute.

Alongside the impact to the hospital systems, numerous Medical Devices themselves were affected in the attack, with HITRUST identifying that its investigations found that MedRad (Bayer), Siemens, and other unnamed medical devices were infected.

Medical Device Vulnerability 

Many hospital systems have in excess of 350,000 Medical Devices, excluding implantable devices that remain within patients. With most of these devices designed without security in mind, many have multiple vulnerabilities and ways in which they can be compromised by a hacker.

In August 2017, the FDA  recalled it’s first Medical Device due to such a vulnerability. The recalled device, a pacemaker made by  Abbott’s (formerly St. Jude Medical’s), was recalled as it was found to be vulnerable to cyber threats. Arising from an FDA investigation in February that year, the device highlighted areas of non-compliance, and was recalled as a preventative measure.

FDA Takes a Stronger Position on Cybersecurity

Just over a year later, and the FDA has taken steps to begin tackling the cyber-risks posed to Medical Devices.

As part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity in healthcare, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a memorandum of agreement to implement a new framework for greater coordination and cooperation between the two agencies for addressing cybersecurity in Medical Devices.

Alongside this, a new draft update to the pre-market guidance on Medical Device security gives manufactures a framework for how to best protect against risks, including ransomware campaigns that disrupt clinical operations, as well as exploits involving a remote, multi-patient attack.

With cyber-attacks resulting in life-threatening consequences, and with Medical Devices becoming ever-more-connected, the approval of new devices is sure to be impacted by increasing regulation, and more stringent testing.

 

Science In Images: the History of Spacelabs

Back in February, I made the decision to join a Medical Device company, based just outside of Seattle; Spacelabs.

Founded in 1958 by two scientists, the company developed cardiac monitoring and telemetry systems for NASA, which were used to monitor astronauts’ vital signs during the Gemini and Apollo space missions, culminating in Neil Armstrong wearing Spacelabs medical telemetry for the first moon landing in 1969.

That technology was the beginning of the equipment that Spacelabs makes today, focusing on patient care in the monitoring and cardiology space.

As with all jobs, it has its problems, but I feel lucky to get to work on innovative equipment that saves lives.


Content reproduced from Spacelabs Healthcare

The Pursuit of Happiness

As part of my volunteer work I write for the AWIS Washington Wire,  an online newspaper that brings  interesting and useful stories and articles to Professional Women in the Unites States.

For this weeks assignment, I was tasked with writing about Work-Life Satisfaction. Initially, I was a bit underwhelmed by the idea as the “10 Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance” headlines have been grossly overused and offer little practical advice.

As I dug deeper into the stories that are shaping careers, however, I came to realize that “Work-Life Balance” was just a fancy way to say “How can you be happy in your life?”

The topic of Genuine Happiness is one that has  interested me more, and more the older I have become. In both work, and life it has started shaping so many of my decisions and has changed the way I perceive the world.

From establishing more fulfilling, supportive relationships to aligning your career with your true passions, happiness (and not necessarily success) should be the goal we are all striving for.

Here’s a round-up of some of the articles I got to explore for this weeks research!


Achieving Balance for High-Powered Women.
Venture capital fuels innovation, but with only 7% of partners at the top 100 venture firms being women, how can you thrive in a demanding industry, whilst achieving balance?  In an interview with Kendra Ragatz, COO and general partner at Aspect Ventures, the life of a high-power working woman is explored, as she discusses the ways that she finds balance in her career and personal life.
A balancing act

Making Balance the Law
We’re all over-connected to our phones, making it harder to leave our work at the office. In New York, however, change might be on the horizon. Following in the footsteps of some European countries, a new law would allow employees to ignore employers outside of work hours. With the average work week now around 47 hours, the bill would allow employees to draw a line as to when their work day begins and when it ends.
Switching off

What to Look for in a Great Workplace
In April 2017, the Spanish company Visual MS ranked as one of the best workplaces in Europe. The company, whose average length of service is 11 years, draws talent from all over the world, including from the highly-paid employees of Silicon Valley. What is it that prompts people to seek out employment at a small company with modest earnings though? This article reflects on what makes a great workplace, and the how changing the way we treat work can lead to happier employees.
Work happy

In Science and Tech this Week

 

Seabirds are so Full of Crap.
Guano, also known as bird poop, is full of nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen. With more than 1.3 billion pounds of nitrogen being deposited by seabirds each year, understanding how these nutrients are contributing to the environment can help scientists predict changes in the environment.
Bird poop

What Women in Tech Can Do Better.
Women in the tech industry are underrepresented, but how to we help elevate more women in our own professional spheres? Exploring the connection between promoting qualified friends and business, what more can we do to advocate for those qualified women around us?
Promoting friends

Under the Sea
Whilst filming for Blue Planet II, the team found life where they never expected it; the Mariana Trench. With a depth of over 11,000 meters, and with the pressure reaching over 1000x atmospheric pressure, it was unknown that such complex life could thrive in the depths.
New life

How the Women’s March Changed Careers.
What represented a day of protest for some, was the beginning of much more for others. After participating in last year’s Women’s march, 5 professional women talk about why they were inspired to make a change. From leaving Wall Street, to starting a career in politics, these women discuss how a single day impacted their whole lives.
Business women

The Grandmother of the Web
Her son may be credited as the father of the web, but Mary Lee Berners-Lee was a pioneer for women in technology. An early champion for computers and women’s rights, Mary Lee was part of the team that worked on the first commercially sold computer, the Ferranti Mark I. Whilst at Ferranti, Mary Lee showed her passion for equality by leading a successful campaign for equal pay for male and female programmers, two decades before the Equal Pay Act came into force.
Mary lee

In Science and Tech this Week

The Safest Time to Get Heart Surgery
If you’re about to have cardiac surgery, a new study suggests you should opt for an afternoon appointment.  It has been previously shown that heart health fluctuates over the day, with the risk of stroke or cardiac arrest being higher in the morning. This new research points to the body’s clock, the circadian rhythm, being the possible culprit and explores if surgery is less risky later in the day.
Heart clock

Virtual Reality to Improve Mental Health
As VR devices become an affordable reality, can they be used as treatment options to improve mental health? Initially funded by the DoD to treat PTSD, the technology is opening multiple new avenues; from the treatment of anxiety and fears, to teaching mindfulness and relaxation methods.
VR health

The Opioid Epidemic
After the declaration of a national health emergency, the Department of Health and Human Services can redirect resources to combat the opioid abuse epidemic. In the USA opioid abuse and overdose rates are at a record high, but with available treatment options already showing promise, will this new stance be sustainable long term?
Health emergency

Can Robotics Get Girls into STEM?
STEM fields, particularly engineering and computing, are seeing a shortage of women. So how do we encourage more women and girls into these currently male dominated fields? One idea gaining traction is robots. Utilizing robotics as toys is one way that manufactures are looking to increase the engagement of girls, but will STEM toys lead to more women in scientific careers?
STEM robotics

 

In Science and Tech this Week

Twice the Tweet
From the early days, Twitter has capped its Tweets at the iconic 140 characters. On Tuesday, however, Twitter announced testing of a longer 280 character tweet limit. Testing will only effect a small number of users initially, but Twitter plans to roll it our over the entire used base (except Japanese, Chinese and Korean language users).
Tweet more

Egg-Freezing as a Work Perk
Perks amongst the tech giants now come with the territory, but Facebook, Google and Apple are some of the first to offer to pay for egg-freezing for their female employees. The benefit is designed to allow working women more flexibility when planning a family alongside their career, but critics have suggested it sends the message that work is more important than family life. With more women having children in their 30’s than in their 20’s, does this perk allow for better life-planning or is it a way to make younger workers focus on their jobs?
Frozen eggs

You are What You Eat.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and it has been long hypothesized that bacteria in human intestinal flora may be responsible for triggering the disease in individuals who are genetically predisposed. Research fresh out of the Max Planck Institue of Immunobiology and Epigenetics has found evidence to support this, suggesting that intestinal bacterial can indeed trigger multiple sclerosis.
Trust your gut

A Generation Turning to Meditation
Although the word meditation conjures up stereotypical images for some, mindfulness is going mainstream amongst the millennial generation. With as many as 42% having meditated at least once in the past year, is there merit to its popularity and can it help you achieve better balance in your personal and professional life?
State of mind

From sexism to Saturn: Life After Cassini
Having spent 4 decades dedicating her life to Saturn, Linda Spilker worked on Voyager, and the Cassini mission from beginning to end. Despite being discouraged from a career in physics and mathematics, Spilker’s career skyrocketed with NASA. Now it’s over? Spilker has her eyes set on the next big mission.
Sky’s the limit

In Science and Tech this Week

Dogs can Love You as much as Food
After spending his days scanning Dogs brains using MRI, Dr Gregory Berns of Emory University, Atlanta discusses his research. His work, now available in the book “What It’s Like To Be a Dog” talks about reward response in dogs, and that they might really love you as much as food!
Woof woof

Better funding for Science
Congress has rejected President Trump’s plans to cut funding for Biomedical Research, instead pushing to increase spending by the NIH.
NIH OK

New iPhones, More Hype
A decade after the first iPhone was introduced, Apple has launched three new ones: the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. While the latter two are upgrades on the company’s previous models, the X has a design and a heap of new features. “iPhone X feels like the future” but is that enough to make people pay the hefty price-tag ($999) for the device?
Future X

The Bitcoin Shake-Up
Chinese regulators ordered a halt to all virtual currency trading platforms in the country, acting to further rein in risks related to cryptocurrencies. The move came after the central bank and other departments imposed an immediate ban on fundraising using new blockchain-based currencies. According to analysts, China could be just one of many countries lining up to put increasing regulatory pressure on the $150 billion cryptocurrency market.
Bitcoin

Amazon HQ, Take Two
This week saw Amazon announce plans to open a second, equal HQ elsewhere in North America. With multiple cities vying to be Amazons next hub, is having the Amazonians in town really a good thing?
Where next?