NCipher Security survey: Consumers Wary on Medical Device Security

The significance consumers place on the privacy and security of their health information has been reviewed in a recent nCipher Security survey.

The survey i question was aimed at 1,300 U.S. consumers and looked into attitudes toward online privacy, the sharing of sensitive information, and data violations.

The survey showed consumers are much more worried about their financial data being hacked than their health information. 42% of those questioned said their biggest cybersecurity concern was their financial information being illegally obtained, as opposed to 14% whose main worry was the theft of their health data.

Worry in relation to financial losses is understandable. Stealing financial information can have immediate and potentially very serious consequences. Theft of health data may not be seen as important by comparison, but consumers are still worried about the consequences of a breach of their personal data.

Over 33.3% of consumers said they were concerned that cyber criminals would use their data and 44% were concerned about identity theft after a data breach. 22% of consumers said they were worried that the hacking of a connected device would place their health in danger.

The survey looked into the main privacy and security worries related to the sharing of personal information. The biggest privacy concerns were supplying SSNs or credit card numbers over the phone (46%), online banking (35%) and online shopping (34%). 16% of respondents thought their private information was most susceptible when downloading health records or using an internet-linked medical device.

A growing amount of people are now using personal devices to track their movements and review their health. Only 37% of survey respondents said they do not record health metrics on some kind of internet-linked device.

23% of consumers use smartphones for that goal, 135 have internet-connected scales, 12% don fitness trackers, and 10% use an Apple Watch or device like it. 19% of consumers connect to their provider’s website to track and record their health data.

The survey implies that many consumers have strong feelings regarding medical device security. More than 50% of respondents (52%) thought that the best way to protect personal data on medical devices is encryption. In the event of a cyberattack, personal information would not be put in danger.

35% of consumers said they should be obligated to validate their devices regularly to better guard their privacy and 31% of respondents thought medical devices should be independently certified.  18% are in favor of government-managed medical devices. 17% of respondents said executives should be sacked if personal healthcare data is exposed, including executives at medical device producers.