Medical Devices Ransomware Is The Biggest Hacking Threat of 2016

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biggest-hacking-threat-2016-medical-device-ransomwareShort Bytes: As we are making progress on the front of online security, the cybercriminals are competing head-to-head to target every device connected to the internet. A similar threat is being predicted to affect the medical devices in the form of ransomware that will send life threats and ask for money.

This year we’ve seen an unprecedented rise in the number of ransomware attacks targeting your computer devices and asking for money. Even though such threats have been around for the past 25 years, but, it seems, ransomware could be soon used to target the medical devices. According to a recent report by the research and advisory firm Forrester, ransomware in the medical devices is the biggest hacking threat of 2016.

As we are making progress on the front of online security, the cybercriminals are competing head-to-head to target every device connected to the internet. Till date, there is no case of hackers holding a patient ransom by hacking his/her medical device, but the reports suggest security of devices like insulin pumps and pacemakers fall behind the standard.

For those who don’t know, ransomware is the malware that alter the normal operation of your machine, thus barring you to use it properly. Thereafter, these programs display warning messages asking for money to get your device back to normal working condition. If you are willing to know more, read our ultimate guide that tells the difference between viruses, worms, ransomware, trojans, bots, malware, spyware etc?

Addressing the issue of the biggest hacking threat of 2016, Motherboard paints a horrifying picture of a future where something goes wrong with your pacemaker and you feel a sudden pain in your chest. Soon your phone receives a text message that reads: “Want to keep living? Pay us a ransom now, or you die.”

The medical device security expert Billy Rios tells Motherboard that it’s technically possible to alter a malware and use it to attack the medical devices. Given the urgency involved, this makes a perfect target of cybercriminals in the near future.

In the past, we have seen ransomware attacks on Windows machines and Android devices. In the US alone, between April 2014 and June 2015, ransomware attacks on computers did damages worth $18 million.

While you can take these steps to enhance the security of your computers and smartphones, the security of medical devices like pacemakers and insulin pumps is totally up to the manufacturers. At the moment, the devices being used by the people are unsafe and unprotected. The equipment makers will surely figure out a way to assure their security, but the question is, how soon?

Add your views about the biggest hacking threat of 2016 in the comments below.

Get this free eBook to protect yourself from ransomware: Ransomware Hostage Protection Manual

Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]

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