Cockpit Crew Blog

The Implications of WannaCry on Medical Devices: How Interconnected Devices Can Exacerbate Cyber Attacks

Ransomware can be frightening. It holds all the data in a device hostage until the victim pays a sum of money, and even then, there is no guarantee the data will return. To be more specific, ransomware takes advantage of a security flaw and locks the user out until said ransom is paid. Initially, over 200,000 victims were affected by the recent WannaCry attack worldwide, which exploited a flaw in Microsoft Windows 7 and demanded a ransom in Bitcoin. Worryingly, WannaCry infiltrated the computer systems of London hospitals. WannaCry even took its first medical device hostages in the US during the major attack. This is the heart of things: connected medical devices, on these networks, can expose them to risk if they're not well protected.

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The Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID)

FDA is establishing a unique device identification system to adequately identify medical devices through their distribution and use,” according to the FDA’s website. It is currently in the middle of a seven year undertaking, which started in 2013 and is expected to end in September 2020, called the FDA Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID). It is an endeavor to mitigate clinical error and risk, while also yielding better data for a more robust post-market surveillance system. GUDID would also make product recalls more efficient in being able to pinpoint exactly the devices that went awry.

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