Technology Review on the looming hazard of malware causing deadly misfunction in the era of digitalized medical care:
Computerized hospital equipment is increasingly vulnerable to malware infections, according to participants in a recent government panel. These infections can clog patient-monitoring equipment and other software systems, at times rendering the devices temporarily inoperable.
Olson told the panel that infections have stricken many kinds of equipment, raising fears that someday a patient could be harmed. “We also worry about situations where blood gas analyzers, compounders, radiology equipment, nuclear-medical delivery systems, could become compromised to where they can’t be used, or they become compromised to the point where their values are adjusted without the software knowing,” he said. He explained that when a machine becomes clogged with malware, it could in theory “miss a couple of readings off of a sensor [and] erroneously report a value, which now can cause harm.”