Roadblocks to the security of embedded medical devices

The concerns for protecting data from wearable medical devices are diverse. The problems include problems related to confidentiality, security vulnerabilities, scalability, and cost etc. We do not have a system in place that is practical or financially viable at scale for securing medical devices. We must find a way to secure our medical devices and the data they generate.


Confidentiality and security of the cloud is a key concern for the embedded medical devices. The storing of the medical data on the cloud can pose a threat to it. Experts generally analyze systems from the perspective of the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) triad when examining embedded medical devices within the framework of standard information security analysis approaches. Patients only want their data to be seen by their medical professionals or people they grant access to the information. Data storage on the cloud can lead to the sensitive information could be viewed by individuals who were not granted access.

Cost and flexibility is another area of concern. End-to-end encryption or architecture that allows data to remain encrypted in the cloud and decrypted in the hands of medical professionals and patients is currently missing. Medical data processing can only be accomplished in trusted computing environments. Expensive to construct and maintain, these environments require the management of highly trusted individuals.

The lag time currently created during the collection of data is another area of concern with the future of wearable medical devices. The data processing sites, medical devices, and intended caregivers are often geographically distributed.This causes operational problems because each device, site, and caregiver operates on different time scales.When the data is encrypted, it does not allow for real-time computations to go into effect.

In addition to this, the data is still highly vulnerable to attacks and breaches. The number of cyberattacks and data breaches will only continue with the increase of wearable medical devices unless the industry innovates. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 38.7 million individuals have had their protected health information compromised in HIPAA privacy and security breaches since 2009.

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