Critical Windows vulnerability in medical equipment

Researchers at healthcare cybersecurity company CyberMDX have learned that 45% of connected medical devices which run on Windows are vulnerable to the BlueKeep attack.

This is because they haven’t received the necessary patches to defend against the vulnerability and often use operating systems which are no longer supported by Microsoft, said the report.

At-risk connected devices that are exploited can result in dire consequences for hospitals and their patients, said CyberMDX.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t a ‘what if’ thought experiment around a worst-case scenario, but a real present-day predicament that we need to take more seriously,” VP of product at CyberMDX Ido Geffen told ZDNet.

“In 2019, at least 10 hospitals were forced to turn away patients as a result of cyber attacks. And even when hospitals don’t need to turn away patients, cyber insecurity can bear a serious impact on care.”

One of the bigger problems for hospitals is that many connected devices still use Windows 7 – which is no longer supported by Microsoft and is vulnerable to BlueKeep.

However, upgrading these devices is often difficult as they need to be online at all times.

Geffen recommended that devices which cannot be taken offline to apply patches should be removed from the rest of the network as much as is possible.

“It can be helpful to block traffic coming to operationally unnecessary ports on the network or VLAN level through a NAC solution or internal firewall,” said Geffen.

“In some rare cases when a device cannot be patched and the available mitigations are unrealistic or insufficient, de-networking should be considered.”

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Critical Windows vulnerability in medical equipment