Security Experts: New Bug Threatens Hospital Systems

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — During last week’s Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit, security experts discovered that more than 21,000 Internet-connect devices often used at hospitals to centralize control over of heating and cooling systems, elevators and alarm systems, are vulnerable to hackers.

Researchers demonstrated how Niagara AX-branded hardware and software could be hacked within 25 seconds. They found that in addition to opening up critical equipment to tampering, Tridium’s products also expose corporate and government networks to intruders since the devices are often connected directly to local networks using one of two Ethernet ports built into the boxes, according to ARS Technica.

A main concern about the vulnerability is that extortionists, disgruntled or unstable employees, or terrorists could possible exploit weaknesses and allow them to bring about catastrophic effects, such as causing a large heating system to explode or catch fire or sabotaging large chillers used by hospitals and other facilities. Attackers could also exploit the bug to gain a toehold into networks, which could then be further penetrated using additional vulnerabilities that may be present.

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