DailyTech: Cyber Hackers Threaten Security of Lifesaving Medical Devices

DailyTech: Cyber Hackers Threaten Security of Lifesaving Medical Devices

By Monique Bethell

Cyber security threats to computer equipment and anything connected to the internet is something most people are used to hearing about. Now the cybersecurity concerns are much closer than ever before… Hackers can attack implantable, wireless medical devices and other lifesaving medical equipment. Now… its personal.

Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson had to inform 114,000 diabetic patients that one of its insulin pumps, the J&J Animas OneTouch Ping, could be hacked. The device could be attacked, disabling the pump or alter the dosage.

Just recently, MedSec, a cybersecurity firm exposed a life threatening security vulnerability which endangered the safety of patients who own defibrillators and pacemakers manufactured by St. Jude Medical.

Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital paid a $17,000 ransom to a criminal enterprise that broke into the hospital’s system, earlier this year encrypted data, then demanded an even larger payment.

Hackers have been using this type of ‘ransomware’–a type of malware in which attackers can steal or delete the contents of users’ computers if they don’t pay a ransom–for the past 25 years. However, how, it seems, the same type of malware, can be used to hack into medical devices and equipment. Cyber experts have determined that Ransomware in medical devices is the single biggest cyber security threat for 2016, according to a recent report from research and advisory firm Forrester and reported by Motherboard.

Am I at risk?

The answer is probably… even if you are just someone whose provider uses online patient portals to access medical records. The truth is everyone is at risk because of the growing and rapidly expanding threat of hackers that can illegally access anything connected to the internet.

The video below, originally published by the Wall Street Journal provides a better overview of the security threats and vulnerabilities.

The government responds….

Earlier this year, the FDA issued a letter warning hospitals and patients that a pump commonly used to ration out proper dosing of medicine in IVs could be vulnerable to attack. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who co-chairs the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, wrote the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to praise the agency’s draft cybersecurity guidelines for medical devices.

As noted in a statement published by the Hill.com, Langevin said, “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,”. He further supported their progress while expressing concern about the potential for harm to patient safety if medical devices are compromised. Such concerns are equally shared by security specialists who worry that hackers can penetrate hospital firewalls and seal patient data, and control the functions of vital equipment such as medication pumps, ventilators and heart monitors.

An ever larger issue is the vulnerability of hospitals to attacks that could threaten operations, systems and infrastructure needed to save lives, particularly during an emergency situation or national crisis.

So what…now what?

So it’s clear that now even medical devices have become the target of aggressive, unethical computer hackers. Addressing the security threat posed by this vulnerability will require multiple levels of intervention.

The FDA diligently working to update its digital security guidelines and recommendations as more medical devices are connected to the Internet. Organizations that develop medical devices and technology will have to take additional measures to increase their security protocols before obtaining final approval. Physician offices, clinics, hospitals and other health care provider organizations will need to partner with cybersecurity firms to take extra steps to ensure the safety of patient data and other medical technology.

MotifRI: In Their Own Words

MotifRI: In Their Own Words

By: Motif Magazine

We asked the following questions of candidates for US Congress. These are the people we’d be sending to Washington, so we went easy on the RI-related policy questions and tried to open up some of the bigger pictures. Respondents in the race for District #1 were David Cicilline (Dem, incumbent) and Russell Taub (Rep). Respondents in the race for District #2 were Jeff Johnson (Ind), James Langevin (Dem, incumbent), Rhue Reis (Rep). Independent candidate Sal Caiozzo could not be reached for comment. Any editing was strictly for clarity or spelling.

What is the single most important issue facing RI right now and how would you address it in Congress? Is the biggest issue facing the country different?

Jim Langevin (D): The most important issue facing Rhode Island and our nation is the economy, and fostering an environment that supports job growth. This is one of my top priorities in Congress, because as I visit businesses around our state, I hear often that companies are hiring but are struggling to find qualified candidates. This gulf, known as the skills gap, is a national issue because our education system has become disconnected from the workplace. As co-chair of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education Caucus in Congress, I am focused on closing that skills gap and ensuring that young people have access to the training, education and certification programs that will prepare them for the jobs that are available today and will grow in the future.

Would you advocate changing any gun laws, if elected? In what ways?

Langevin: I support the Second Amendment, but I also support commonsense reforms that will keep guns out of the wrong hands. I believe that every person who purchases a gun should have to undergo a background check. That means we must close the gun show loophole, and prohibit individuals on the No-Fly List who are suspected of terrorism from purchasing weapons. I also introduced the Crackdown on Deadbeat Gun Dealers Act to ensure that gun dealers are complying with federal regulations. Finally, we should reinstate and strengthen the federal ban on assault weapons, some of which have been used in recent shootings.

If you had to choose, would you allocate more financial support to 1. arts education 2. health education / fitness or 3. traditional academics?

Langevin: Arts education, health education and traditional subjects like math and science are all critical to a well-rounded education, and none should be overlooked. Last year, I supported passage of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which empowers schools to incorporate art, music and many other subjects beyond the standard curriculum, and includes grant programs for extracurricular activities, with a special focus on using them to further student achievement. All of these investments are critical to student success.

What’s your position on the idea of free college tuition?

Langevin: I believe that higher education should be accessible to all students – not just those who can afford it. I have advocated strongly for the expansion of Pell grants that help young people pay for college, and we must do more to get the overall cost of college under control. That must include reining in interest rates on student loans. I believe that the interest rate should cover only the essential costs of administering the loan. The federal government should not be making a profit on the backs of hardworking students.

According to a study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, US maternal mortality rates are currently some of the highest among developed nations. What do you view as the biggest contributing factor to this statistic and what can be done to address it?

Langevin: While the Affordable Care Act has reduced the percentage of uninsured Americans to a record low of just over 9%, access to quality, affordable healthcare remains a challenge, particularly in rural communities and for low-income women. We must work to improve on the ACA and continue breaking down barriers to care, for women and for all Americans. We must also do much more to support mothers in general, and that includes enacting paid family medical leave so that women don’t have to fear losing their jobs for taking care of themselves and their children.

Are you concerned about the economic effects of climate change, particularly on RI? And if so, what should be done to slow or reverse the effects of climate change?

Langevin: Climate change presents serious economic, environmental and national security challenges. In Rhode Island, we feel the effects more acutely because our economy is closely tied in to our coastal resources. Sea level rise, coastal erosion and the increasing frequency and severity of severe weather events threaten our homes, our businesses and the lives of our citizens. There are many steps we can and must take to address climate change, including reducing global emissions and decreasing our consumption of oil. As Energy Task Force Chair and a founding member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, I believe that renewable energy is the future. We must invest in innovation and development of clean technologies like solar, wind and geothermal. I have supported legislation that would require 20% of our nation’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020, and that is just the beginning of what we must do to slow the damaging effects of climate change.

In a recent Washington Post survey, only 3% who responded considered congresspeople highly productive. Why do you think people look at congress so unfavorably?

Langevin: Partisanship has reached an all-time high, which is incredibly frustrating because I have seen what good can come from working across the aisle. In fact, I have made bipartisanship a hallmark of my tenure in Congress, and I work with as many Republican partners as possible: on workforce development, it’s Republican Congressman GT Thompson of Pennsylvania; on cybersecurity, it’s Republican Congressman Mike McCaul of Texas; on disability policy, it’s Republican Congressman Gregg Harper of Mississippi. And that’s just to name a few. We don’t agree on everything, but we work together to find common ground and get results. That’s what our constituents deserve and expect from the people they elect.

The (Almost) Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The (Almost) Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I’m not ready to fast forward through fall just yet, but I have one early request on my holiday wish list this year, and I’m hoping you can help. My second annual Holiday Card Photo Contest is now underway, and I’m looking for images that capture the beauty and the spirit of the holiday season in the Second Congressional District.

Please help me spread the word about the contest so we can attract even more submissions this year! All Rhode Islanders are invited to participate by sending high-quality photos taken in the Second Congressional District to HolidayCard@JimLangevin.com. Photographs should depict winter scenes and be inclusive to all holiday celebrations, and each participant may submit up to THREE entries. More details are available on my Facebook page, and the complete list of contest rules is below.

From snow-covered streets in Burrillville to the wintry waterfront in Westerly, I hope you will share your photos and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. The deadline to submit photos is Thursday, October 20. Eligible photographs will be posted on my Facebook page at Langevin for Congress on Friday, October 21, and the photograph with the most likes by 5 p.m. on Friday, October 28, will be the winner! So start digging through your photo collection – I can’t wait to see the great photographs!

Best of luck!

Contest Rules:

-Photos must be high quality, with a resolution of at least 300dpi
-Original photo size must be at least 5×7″
-Photos must be taken by the person submitting the photo, and must be taken in the Second Congressional District
-Amateur and professional photographers are both welcome to submit entries
-The last day to submit photos is Thursday, October 20
-By submitting your photo to the contest, you are giving Langevin for Congress permission to use your photo without compensation

Warwick Beacon: WPD to use $375K grant to hire 3 Community Engagement Officers

Originally Published by The Warwick Beacon 10/11/2016

Warwick and Portsmouth and Police Departments will hire additional law enforcement officers to enhance school-based policing and community engagement efforts in their respective communities under a $625,000 grant announced Oct. 7 by U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline. 

The federal grants are administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office, which awarded $119 million in grants to police departments nationwide this week as part of the COPS Hiring Program, or CHP.

Warwick Police is being awarded $375,000 to hire three Community Engagement Officers to build relationships and trust through community engagement, and especially to help the WPD address mental health issues in the community.  While the WPD has developed and implemented strategies to work with students who are prone to criminal behavior due to mental health issues, the new officers will help the department work with community partners and stakeholders to extend community outreach and help young adults who are out of school and need assistance.

“Even with tight budgets, public safety must be our top priority.  This federal funding will help Portsmouth and Warwick meet that goal by hiring additional police officers for the community,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee in a statement.

“These awards will help put more Rhode Island police officers in our neighborhoods to fight crime and keep our schools safe,” said Whitehouse. “Congratulations to the Warwick and Portsmouth Police Departments on these well-deserved grants, and for your commitment to the communities you serve.”

“Public safety is always a top priority, and COPS grants have consistently helped police departments across the state to be funded and staffed at adequate levels. Congratulations to Warwick and Portsmouth on successfully competing for these federal dollars, which will significantly aid in their efforts to keep Rhode Islanders safe,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

Launched in 1994, the COPS Hiring Program provides funds directly to law enforcement agencies to hire, preserve, and/or rehire police officers and helps local police departments increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.

Morning Consult: Russia’s Role in Political Hacking: What They’re Saying So Far

By Amir Nasr

Overshadowed by the fast-paced news dumps of the “Trump Tapes,” the second presidential debate and WikiLeaks releases was a massive joint announcement Friday from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that the U.S. intelligence community is “confident” the Russian government orchestrated hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

DHS and the office of the DNI said that the hacks and subsequent disclosure of the emails were “intended to interfere with the US election process.”

“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the joint statement said. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

While various news outlets reported U.S. intelligence were confident of Kremlin involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party organizations, this marked the first time the government publicly blamed Russia for meddling in the U.S. election.

Members of Congress from both parties wanted to see a stop to the interference now that the acknowledgment was public.

Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on the government to put a stop to Russia’s activities. “If it does not, we must develop a strong response,” she said.

Feinstein said: ““The statement released by the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence closely mirrors my joint statement with Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. The administration’s acknowledgement that Russian intelligence agencies are attempting to influence the U.S. election and undermine public confidence conveys the seriousness of the threat. Attempted hacking of our election system is intolerable, and it’s critical to convince the Russian government to cease these activities. If it does not, we must develop a strong response.”

Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Chairman Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said he plans to introduce legislation that would require the White House to investigate the Russian cyber-criminals and “aggressively pursue sanctions when appropriate,” according to a Friday release.

The “news is further evidence of what happens when the Obama Administration fails to take the cyber threat seriously. That is why I plan to introduce legislation that builds upon my North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act by mandating the Administration sanction Russia’s bad actors who are responsible for malicious cyber activities,” Gardner said in a statement. “Russia’s interference with American democracy is a direct threat to our political process, and it may only be the tip of the iceberg. It is imperative that Russia’s behavior is met with strength in the form of aggressive sanctions to show the world that its cybercrimes will not be tolerated.”

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called on the U.S. to work with European allies that Russia had targeted with similar hacking operations to develop a response protecting the country from further intrusions.

“I applaud the Administration’s decision to publicly name Russia as the source of hacks into U.S. political institutions,” Schiff said in a Friday statement. “We should now work with our European allies who have been the victim of similar and even more malicious cyber interference by Russia to develop a concerted response that protects our institutions and deters further meddling. All of us should be gravely concerned when a foreign power like Russia seeks to undermine our democratic institutions, and we must do everything in our power to guard against it. This is why Senator Feinstein and I have been urging state election officials to take every precaution and to avail themselves of the cyber expertise offered by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) said the U.S. will “hold [Russia] President [Vladimir] Putin directly accountable for his misguided attempts to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt,” in a Saturday statement.

“Cyber attacks on the people and processes central to our democracy cannot go unchecked. These actions threaten to undermine the American peoples’ faith in our elections, and I commend President Obama identifying Russia as the perpetrator of such hacks,” Langevin said in the statement. “Russia’s expanding information warfare operations and interference in democracies – here and abroad – are intended to destabilize. But I have faith in the citizens of the United States and our allies and their ability to stand resilient in the face of these deceitful attacks. We will stand united with our NATO partners to turn back these attempts to undermine our freedom.”

Block Island Times: USDA programs help island business

Block Island Times: USDA programs help island business

Block Island Times: Cybersecurity takes center stage

Block Island Times: Cybersecurity takes center stage

By Cassius Shuman

Citing the importance of cybersecurity and the employment opportunities it can provide, U.S. Rep. James Langevin (D) said, “It’s a an important issue, and a security threat that presents many challenges.” Langevin discussed that subject, and a few others, when he visited with the staff of The Block Island Times on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

“We should all have a healthy concern about cybersecurity in this country,” said Langevin. “Nobody uses the internet more than in the United States.”

Langevin, who is co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, said that online security and global terrorism are the country’s two major threats. He noted that “raising awareness, cyber hygiene and password protection” are essential to protection from cyber threats.

Langevin said one of the “more vulnerable” internet networks in this country is the voter registration system. “The FBI and Homeland Security have evidence that the Russians, or foreign entities, have certainly been probing, trying to look into our voter registration system,” he said. “So everyone is working overtime to protect those systems. The state of Rhode Island, as well as the federal government, is working closely with Homeland Security to ensure that the voter registration systems are as safe and secure as possible.”

“The real danger is that they could undermine confidence in the country’s election system,” added Langevin. They could do that “by sewing doubt into whether an election outcome is genuine, legitimate, etc.”

With regard to Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump joking that Russia should hack into Hilary Clinton’s email server, Langevin said he thought Trumps remark was “outrageous, highly objectionable and very disappointing. It’s another example of bringing the election, and campaign, to a new low.”

Langevin said that while cybersecurity presents its challenges, it also can provide job opportunities. “It’s a jobs issues we need to focus on. It’s an opportunity for our young people,” he said, “because we don’t have nearly enough people going into the Information Technology or cybersecurity fields. I hope that our young people will consider that as an option.”

Langevin noted that “there are a number of programs” he supports related to cyber-based careers. “CyberPatriot is one of those programs,” he said. “It’s a competition for kids that are good with computers. There’s also the Cyber Corps program. It’s a joint program between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation.”

“We need more support for these programs,” added Langevin, noting his support of the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), which is a new federal education law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). “We have a skills gap in our state, and across the country.”

On Sept. 15, Langevin filed legislation called the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development Act, which is aimed at ensuring extension of federal tax credits for offshore wind energy projects from 2019 to 2025. “It’s all complementary” in providing tax incentives for the offshore and renewable energy businesses in the northeast. “Sen. (Sheldon) Whitehouse is working with us on this,” he said. “He’ll be introducing the companion bill.”

Langevin said that he tries “to come out to Block Island whenever possible.” He noted that the boat ride was a little “rough” coming over to the island on Wednesday. “But I’m a guy who likes a little turbulence on an airplane, so I don’t mind a bumpy ride,” he said.