Thanks to winter storm ‘Jonas’ I had some free time on my hands this weekend and I got to catch up on a recent episode of CSI: Cyber – the latest in the CSI franchise which follows the work of an elite team of FBI special agents investigating cyber-crime across the US. The episode, titled ‘Hack E.R.’ addressed a security issue that’s been discussed at length in the media this year: the possibility of exploiting the Internet of Things to hack into medical equipment and facilities. The episode sees a hacker take control of all networked devices at a Dallas hospital, resulting in the death of a patient, and threats to kill more patients at regular intervals if the attacker’s ransom demands are not met.
In the episode, the CSI team rushes to locate the source of the attack and discover how the culprit managed to get around the hospital’s supposed high levels of security. They find that the hacker had gained access through a Smart TV that was connected to the hospital’s WiFi. By accessing the hospital’s network the hackers then disabled a patient’s heart monitor and installed malware on the hospital network which caused a defibrillator to malfunction when staff attempted to save the patient.
In today’s cyber-crime crazy world, it is, unfortunately, a plausible scenario, and I think there are few lessons that can be learnt from this episode:
While I don’t wish for any more snow days, hopefully, I will be able to catch up on some more episodes of CSI:Cyber in the near future. While the show sometimes bends the truth with both technology and terminology to drive its plotlines, it does tackle some very real threats, and it’s good to see cyber-security issues getting wider exposure in the media
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