May 17, 2020

Dassault Systèmes Living Heart Project reaches next milestones in improving patient care

Technology
Cardiology
heart disease
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Dassault Systèmes Living Heart Project
With ambitions to drive the creation and use of simulated 3D personalised hearts in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of heart diseases, Dassault...

With ambitions to drive the creation and use of simulated 3D personalised hearts in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of heart diseases, Dassault Systèmes has defined the milestones within its Living Heart Project.

Available through Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform, the project is targeted at the scientific and medical community, who seek to find faster, targeted ways to improve patient care through new partnerships. The platform offers the speed and flexibility of high-performance computing (HPC) to even the smallest medical device companies.

The Living Heart Project has grown to more than 95-member organisations worldwide including medical researchers, practitioners, device manufacturers and regulatory agencies united in a mission of open innovation to solve healthcare challenges. 

The project has supported 15 research grant proposals by providing access to the model, associated technologies and project expertise. Novel use of the model to understand heart disease and study the safety and effectiveness of medical devices has appeared in eight articles published in peer-reviewed journals to date. 

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Through the platform, any life sciences company can access a complete, on-demand HPC environment to scale up virtual testing securely and collaboratively while managing infrastructure costs.  This also crosses an important boundary toward the use of the Living Heart directly in a clinical setting.

“Medical devices need thousands of tests in the development stage,” said Joe Formicola, President and Chief Engineer, Caelynx. “With the move of the Living Heart to the cloud, effectively an unlimited number of tests of a new design can be carried out simultaneously using the simulated heart rather than one at a time, dramatically lowering the barrier to innovation, not to mention the time and cost.”

Since signing a 5-year agreement with the FDA in 2014, Dassault Systèmes will continue to align with the regulatory agency on the use of simulation and modelling to accelerate approvals. “Modelling and simulation plays a critical role in organizing diverse data sets and exploring alternate study designs. This enables safe and effective new therapeutics to advance more efficiently through the different stages of clinical trials,” Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb has said.

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Jun 15, 2021

Why are healthcare networks so vulnerable to attacks? 

Cybersecurity
IoT
healthcarenetwork
cyberattacks
5 min
Elisa Costante from Forescout Technologies gives us the lowdown on how vulnerabilities in the healthcare sector happen, and how to secure them

Forescout Research Labs has published a study on the vulnerabilities impacting the healthcare industry’s connected devices. The research division of Forescout Technologies has published the report as part of its Project Memoria, and it reveals that healthcare organisations are affected five times more by TCP/IP vulnerabilities than any other sector. 

Elisa Costante, a software engineer and Forescout's Vice President of Research, explains why this is and how to prevent it. 

What is Project Memoria? 
Project Memoria aims to improve the security of TCP/IP stacks and understand what  the main security issues are. TCP/IP stacks are a very core component of every network device, whether it's an iPhone connected to the internet, or a robot controlling  the process of manufacturing. If they're connected to the internet they need to have a piece of software controlling communication. 

There are several variants of this software and we're analysing them to understand if they have security bugs or vulnerabilities that if misused by attackers, could lead to disruption of the device itself, and to the network at large. Our goal is to make the industry aware of the problem, and engage with stakeholders as well as the customers. 

Why is healthcare particularly vulnerable? 
This is what the data is telling us. We have a device cloud, which is like a data lake of device information. This device cloud has a lot of information about the devices, like who the vendor is, what the role of the network is, and which vertical this is. We are able to leverage this information, and join it with the intelligence we have from Project Memoria to understand which devices are vulnerable. 

We found that in healthcare there was a huge spike in the number of devices that are vulnerable - as much as  five times more than in other verticals. The reason seems to be because of the number of devices, and because of the intrinsic difficulty of addressing the problem. 

The problem surrounding TCP/IP stacks is that there is not one single vendor that is vulnerable; on average, a healthcare organisation has 12 vendors that are vulnerable. 
Let's say that on average we have 500 devices per healthcare organisation.  Then you need to contact 12 vendors for each of these. These vendors then need to issue a patch to secure the device, and this patch cannot just be automatically delivered and installed in 500 devices. You have to be realistic and think about whether each of the devices  is critical, for example if it goes down will it turn the lighting system off, or stop the MRI machine from working. 

Patches are very complex to deploy. On top of that, the patch needed might not even be available.  That's why we want to understand this problem better  so we can provide solutions. 

How much of the responsibility of keeping a device secure lies with the vendor? 
There are responsibilities that lie with all the different stakeholders, and one of these is  the vendor. There might be multiple vendors involved, which makes it very complex  from a management perspective. 

For instance the device at the end of the chain, which might be an MRI, contains a board that has a connectivity module, and this has one of the stacks that is vulnerable, which could have four different vendors. 

If the vendor responsible for the TCP/IP stack releases a patch, this patch has to go down the chain. We identified chains with a length of six vendors, so you can imagine how complex this is. Some vendors have good hygiene security and some don't because they don't know how to deal with it - they need training. 

This is a new issue related to the software bill of materials, which is being tabled for legislation at the moment to create policies regarding the complexity of the supply chain. We need to shed light on this issue so that legislators can put these policies in place to help with security.  

What can healthcare providers do themselves to stay secure? 
Visibility is important; they need to know what they have in their network. In the case of vulnerable devices they should find out if there's a patch available. If there isn't, because it's an old device for example, but it's still critical to the system, they may want to isolate it so it only communicates with the devices it really needs to. 

Interestingly enough, our research found that most of the healthcare organisations we analysed had a flat network, which means they don't have isolated devices. For instance, a drugs dispensing machine, which you typically find in pharmacies,  is connected to a building automation light system, which is connected to a switch. This is also connected to an IoT sensor device. Why would you have all of them together in the same place? 
The first step is having this information, which often comes as a surprise. Then you can take action; you can segment a network, and if you can't do that you can control the network's access by isolating devices that are risky.

How can Forescout help healthcare organisations? 
Forescout is uniquely positioned to help. We provide visibility end-to-end, which means having a full inventory of devices that includes quite granular detail, so they can know what the operating system is, who the vendor is and so on. Then we enable them to do network segmentation. 

This enables organisations to write policies around how to secure their networks, for example if a device is vulnerable specify which connected devices must be isolated, or which device it must communicate with exclusively. 

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