7-10 October 2019, Bangkok, Thailand
Cyberattacks have become a globally strategic concern for all countries and healthcare is in the cross-hairs of perpetrators - not just for the value of PII, PHI and IP but for the extortion value of holding sick patients or their medical data to ransom. It’s no longer just opportunistic criminals hiding in remote parts of the world that lack effective law enforcement or extradition treaties with the civilized world, its now nation-state cyber-military units pushing at the boundaries of cyber war, carefully calculating that their actions will not cause a kinetic or economic response from those attacked or those shocked and appalled at their actions.
But cyberattacks are increasingly becoming automated using AI to get past cyber defences and removing the human constraint factor that prevents an attack from going too far. ‘Offensive AI’ mutates itself as it learns about its environment to stealthily mimic humans to avoid detection. It is the new cyber offensive weapon of choice and will automate responses to defensive measures rather like playing chess with a computer – it learns as it goes. But its intent is not just to steal information but to change it in such a way that integrity checking will be difficult if not impossible. Did a physician really update a patient’s medical record or did ‘Offensive AI’? Can a doctor or nurse trust the validity of the electronic health information presented to them? Ransom of patient lives may not be too far away – especially at times of heightened global tensions.
But AI is already being used very effectively for cyber defence across healthcare and other industries. Advanced malware protection that inoculates the LAN and responds in nano-seconds to anomalous behavior patterns. Biomedical security tools that use AI to constantly manage and secure the rising number of healthcare IoT devices as they connect and disconnect from hospital networks. AI-powered attacks will outpace human response teams and outwit current legacy-based defenses. ‘Defensive AI’ is not merely a technological advantage in fighting cyberattacks, but a vital ally on this new battlefield and the only way to protect patients from the cyber criminals of the future.