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ZingBox 2018 Predictions: The Year of Artificial Intelligence and Connected Medical Device Hacks

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Xu Zou, co-founder and CEO, ZingBox

The Year of Artificial Intelligence and Connected Medical Device Hacks

With 2018 just around the corner, there are certain changes that will be among us specific to security surrounding connected medical devices as well as traditional vs. modern security. Let's take a look at them both below.

Hacker will no longer target patient records in healthcare systems

Hackers have and will continue to select their targets based on two things; how lucrative the target is and how easy/difficult it is to obtain it. Patient records represent a lucrative target due to the personal nature of the information as well as the regulatory fines faced by the providers should they lose such information. It also represents increasing difficulty for hackers as more and more organizations are employing various security measures.

Connected medical devices (such as IV pumps, heartrate monitors, and X-ray machines) are also lucrative targets since they house PHIs and are required for uninterrupted patient care. However, unlike patient records, security of connected medical devices are not always up to par, lowering the barrier for hackers. A highly lucrative target that is relatively easier to exploit naturally invites more hackers.

Although some hackers will continue to target PHIs, I predict majority of cyberattacks on healthcare systems in 2018 will target vulnerabilities in connected medical devices since they 1) are easier to target due to lack of built-in security 2) offer entry into the larger network including other devices and 3) can disrupt and paralyze healthcare providers from offering critical care.  As WannaCry demonstrated, the inability to provide patient care can be more damaging to healthcare providers than even losing patient records.

Artificial Intelligence will be a requirement for modern cyber security

2018 will signify the end of traditional cyber security based solely on manual research and signatures.  Antivirus, Intrusion Prevention and other technologies based primarily on development of signatures by cyber security researchers will finally hit the scalability barrier many have predicted. The sheer scale and sophistication of attacks will greatly surpass the rate at which the manual signatures can be developed. The lack of real-time response and the residual pain from 2017 attacks will require organizations to look for security solutions based on modern architecture.

While AI and machine learning are broad terms, in context of security, they represent a modern approach to an old problem. Using AI efficiently, organizations can focus on ensuring that every device behave as intended rather than trying to identify the latest attack pattern or virus. By relying on AI to define and continuously refine what constitutes a "normal" behavior, organizations won't find themselves in a constant race against hackers.

I predict 2018 will be the year where organizations will ask "Are all our devices behaving normally?" vs. "Are we secure from the latest attack?".


About the Author

Xu Zou 

Xu has held executive positions in multiple successful networking and security start-ups. Before starting ZingBox in 2014, Xu was senior director of Aerohive Networks, where he launched Aerohive's cloud-based Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) security product. Prior to Aerohive, Xu was senior director of Aruba Networks, where he managed Aruba's industrial and carrier product line. Xu joined Aruba through the acquisition of Azalea Networks, where Xu was a founding member and the VP of Software. Before Azalea networks, Xu was a senior engineer at Airespace, acquired by Cisco in 2005. Xu has an Executive MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, holds an M.S. in Computer Science from Michigan State University and B.S. in Computer Science from Tsinghua University. Xu also holds ten international patents on security and networking.

Published Thursday, November 30, 2017 7:41 AM by David Marshall
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