The PATCH Act: Protecting Medical Devices from Cyber Attacks –
In a previous issue of Decoded, we discussed the alarming fact that many medical devices, including those implanted in patients’ bodies, are leaving the manufacturers with known cybersecurity flaws. Due to these known flaws, these devices are vulnerable to being hacked, and patients’ personal/protected health information (“PHI”) stolen; or worse, the device being held hostage in a ransomware attack. In hopes of preventing a medical disaster associated with unprotected medical devices, this year, the House and the Senate are considering companion bills intended to significantly improve security and safety for medical devices. Senate Bill 3983, the “Protecting and Transforming Cyber Health Care Act” or “PATCH Act,” and the House companion, the PATCH Act of 2022, H.R. 7084, are currently under consideration in their respective Committees. The PATCH Act represents a major step forward in securing networkable medical devices, but there are significant shortcomings in the way it addresses the ever-evolving threat of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in those medical devices.
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