House Dem: FDA guidelines will help shield medical devices from hackers

House Dem: FDA guidelines will help shield medical devices from hackers
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A top cybersecurity lawmaker on Thursday praised the Obama administration for moving on rules to better secure medical devices from hackers.

Rep. Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinWatchdog exposes Pentagon's cyber struggles Primary season cyberattacks illuminate campaign vulnerabilities Hillicon Valley: State officials share tech privacy concerns with Sessions | Senator says election security bill won't pass before midterms | Instagram co-founders leave Facebook | Google chief to meet GOP lawmakers over bias claims MORE (D-R.I.), who co-chairs the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, wrote the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to commend the agency’s draft cybersecurity guidelines for medical devices.


“I strongly support FDA's efforts to improve the security of medical devices, and if finalized, the draft guidance would make substantial progress in this area,” Langevin said.

The FDA is moving to update its digital security recommendations as more medical devices are connected to the Internet. Security specialists increasingly worry that hackers could infiltrate hospital tools that control vital functions, such as pumps that parcel out medication.

“The threat malicious actors pose to medical devices is particularly concerning, as many of these devices have the potential to harm patient safety if compromised,” Langevin said.

The FDA’s non-binding guidelines do not present a specific list of requirements for protecting medical implements from hackers. Rather, the document lays out a risk-based approach that focuses on closely monitoring digital traffic to the most vulnerable devices.

“It is critical that medical device manufacturers do everything possible to address vulnerabilities and protect patients, and I applaud the FDA for tackling a complex challenge that will affect the healthcare industry now and well into the future,” Langevin said.

Thursday was the deadline to submit comments on the draft, which was issued in January.