Securing the Internet of Medical Things

What is the best network architecture for IoMT?

To secure IoT devices, the basic requirement is isolation: separating each device as much as possible from the others. Ideally, each device would be on a separate microsegment with some type of firewall controlling all inbound and outbound access.

For large hospitals or small IT teams, this can be unrealistically complicated. Options in between, such as placing devices in firewalled network segments based on device vendor or security and risk profile, are easier to manage.

In high-density areas such as nurses’ stations or patient rooms, IT teams can deploy smart switches at the network edge so that port-based VLANs can be used to segment devices. However, requiring a particular device to be plugged into a particular port will still be an issue if users other than IT personnel have the ability to touch the equipment. In such cases, more sophisticated systems such as switch-enforced network access control or media access control address prefix mapping will provide better security while compensating for the reality of an environment. clinical.

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How to manage Wi-Fi security with IoMT?

IT teams cannot have a single IoT Wi-Fi Service Set ID. Typically, multiple Wi-Fi SSIDs are needed to support different device types and different risk or security profiles. Since each device may have different capabilities for wireless security, such as WPA2 Personal or WPA3 Enterprise, having to update each device periodically is a huge burden.

IT teams should insist on complete control and thorough documentation to configure Wi-Fi on each type of IoMT device and then should maintain these wireless configurations through password and certificate changes.

What is the best approach to mitigate threats to IoMT?

IoMT devices are unreliable like other managed servers or clients, even if they are running on some version of Windows or Linux.

IT teams should assume that IoMT devices have weak security and are easy targets for compromise and treat each device accordingly – unless vendors can prove otherwise and a history shows that a additional confidence is warranted.

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What firewall configuration is appropriate for IoMT devices?

IoMT devices should start with a “block, block” security policy on firewalls. IT teams then need to add the minimum set of tightly defined rules to allow the traffic required for the device to function.

Next, IT teams should carefully monitor firewall logs to see if outbound traffic is blocked, which means a firewall or device is misconfigured. These blockages must be investigated, documented and resolved. Finally, each outbound or inbound rule should be monitored to verify that it is being used. Any rules that never see traffic should be disabled and rechecked.

How do you reconcile regulatory issues with patch requirements?

Tightly regulated industries such as healthcare are often caught between open source security patches and a “black box” IoMT appliance for which software patches may be late or completely unavailable for years after deployment. Using strict firewall policies with unified firewall threat management services (such as an intrusion prevention system to block suspicious traffic) will act as a “virtual patch” that can bridge the gap. gap and mitigate security threats.

NEXT: 5 Steps to Secure Medical Internet of Things Devices.

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