Victorian hospitals to trial ‘anti-hacking’ devices

Government funds pilot of Cyber-Nexus ‘anti-hacking’ devices

Victoria’s Western Health will trial 400 Cyber-Nexus ‘anti-hacking’ devices at its hospitals, as part of what the state government said will be a world-first pilot.

Western Health manages Footscray Hospital, Sunshine Hospital, Williamstown Hospital and Sunbury Day Hospital, as well as a number of community-based health services.

The Cyber-Nexus is developed by Israeli company Bio-Nexus and is designed to securely connect medical equipment to hospital networks. Bio-Nexus says the device can reduce the risk posed by medical systems that rely on out-of-date software or unencrypted communication.

The device can be used with a range of high-tech medical equipment ranging from infusion and insulin pumps to implantable cardioverter defibrillators, X-ray systems, blood refrigeration units and CT scanners.

The Cyber-Nexus sits between a medical device and the network. It is capable of connecting to a hospital’s wired or wireless network.

“It delivers complete content and network protection by combining stateful inspection with comprehensive suite of powerful security features,” the company’s description of the product states.

“It protects each medical device separately from others, with an additional isolated security layer.”

A central management unit “provides stringent policy for full protection in different levels and areas.”

“Cyber-Nexus’ dual layered network protection establishes an access point for secure connection,” the company says. “It then establishes [an] IPSEC connection to protect security using a firewall, authentication, anti-virus, anti-spyware, encrypted traffic inspection and more through a second layer.”

The pilot project will cost $457,000, funded through the state government’s Public Sector Innovation Fund. The project is expected to run for six months, including two tests and the analysis of results.

The funding is separate to the $11.9 million in this year’s budget to the boost the security of 29 Victorian Health Services. That funding was earmarked to implement preventative cyber security controls and to monitor the security of systems across health services’ networks.

In today’s announcement, the Victorian government noted the impact of the WannaCry ransomware outbreak earlier this year on the UK’s National Health Service.

“When Victorians find themselves in hospital the last thing we want them to have to worry about is technology breaking down due to cyberattacks — all we want them to worry about is getting better,” the state’s health minister, Jill Hennessy, said in a statement.

“This project is about using the latest technology to keep our hospitals safe from malicious threats from hackers.”

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