Virus Attacks Hospital’s Medical Laboratory Department Computers, Crippling Workflow and Spreading to Other Departments

Incident highlights need for anatomic pathology and clinical laboratories to protect computer and LIS systems from hackers and malware

Anatomic pathology labs and clinical laboratories that continue to run Microsoft Windows XP on their computer systems now have a real threat to address. In Australia, the computers in a hospital’s medical laboratory were infected in January with a computer virus that shut down the system. To maintain clinical services, the lab staff was forced to use paper-based methods, among other solutions.

The computer virus crippled the pathology department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and spread throughout the hospital system by targeting computers running Microsoft Windows XP. This is a 14-year-old operating system that Microsoft no longer supports.

According to a story in iTnews, the Qbot malware first infected computers in Royal Melbourne Hospital’s pathology department in mid-January, handcuffing the pathology department. Staff was forced to develop manual workarounds to process specimens and to record and communicate results. (more…)

Cyber-Attacks against Internet-Enabled Medical Devices are New Threat to Clinical Pathology Laboratories

Veterans Administration and Hospitals Taking Steps to Prevent Hacking of Medical Devices and Wireless Systems

Clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups face a growing security threat to the integrity of their analyzers, laboratory information systems (LIS), and other devices used daily by their employees.

This rapidly-developing threat comes from outside hackers who are launching cyber-attacks aimed at the various medical devices and wireless systems that are directly connected to the Internet and are used by hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers. These cyber-attacks demonstrate a new vulnerability that clinical laboratories and pathology groups should recognize.