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How Health Care Organizations Can Thwart Cyberattacks

The Rethink podcast covers prevention strategies and more

3 min read
A person in front of a computer with medical based icons all around them.
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Ransomware and other types of cyberattacks are striking health care systems at an increasing rate. More than one in three health care organizations around the world reported ransomware attacks last year, according to a survey of IT professionals by security company Sophos. About 40 percent of the nearly 330 respondents from the health care sector that weren't attacked last year said they expect to be hit in the future.

In the United States, the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services were so concerned with the increase in cyberattacks on hospitals and other health care providers that in October they issued a joint advisory warning of the "increased and imminent cybercrime threat."

But the health care field isn't helpless against cyber threats. The IEEE Standards Association Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice—which is focused on clinical health, the biopharmaceutical value chain, and wellness—recently released Season 2 of the Re-Think Health podcast. The new season features experts from around the world who discuss measures that can help organizations minimize and even prevent attacks. The experts emphasize that cybersecurity is more than an IT concern; they say it needs to be managed from a holistic perspective, aligning employees, technology, and processes within an organization.

The six episodes in Cybersecurity for Connected Healthcare Systems: A Global Perspective are as follows:

MORE EPISODES

Season 1 of the podcast is still available. Pain Points of Integrating New Technologies Into an Existing Healthcare Ecosystem features technologists, researchers, and ethicists discussing insights into opportunities and challenges.

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Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

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