Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Application Security

Infusion Pumps Impacted by Years-Old Critical Vulnerabilities: Report

More than 100,000 infusion pumps were found susceptible to severe vulnerabilities that were disclosed roughly three years ago, according to researchers at Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42.

More than 100,000 infusion pumps were found susceptible to severe vulnerabilities that were disclosed roughly three years ago, according to researchers at Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42.

Scans of over 200,000 infusion pumps found on the networks of healthcare providers and hospitals show that 75% of these network-connected devices are impacted by known vulnerabilities that expose them to potential cyberattacks.

What’s more alarming, Palo Alto Networks researchers say, is the fact that more than 52% of the scanned devices are susceptible to two severe security flaws identified in 2019 — CVE-2019-12255 (CVSS score of 9.8) and CVE-2019-12264 (CVSS score of 7.1).

Over 100,000 of the infusion pumps were found vulnerable to older, medium-severity bugs (CVE-2016-9355 and CVE-2016-8375), the company said in a research report.

“While some of these vulnerabilities and alerts may be impractical for attackers to take advantage of unless physically present in an organization, all represent a potential risk to the general security of healthcare organizations and the safety of patients – particularly in situations in which threat actors may be motivated to put extra resources into attacking a target,” the researchers added.

[ READ: Hackers Can Tamper With Doses Delivered by Medical Infusion Pumps ]

Infusion pumps are used to deliver medications and fluids to patients and malicious exploitation of software security defects could put human lives at risk, the company warned. Most of the identified vulnerabilities can be exploited to leak sensitive data and gain unauthorized access.

Bugs that lead to the exposure of sensitive information affect not only infusion pumps, but other medical devices as well, and may impact credentials, operational information, and patient-specific data, the researchers note.

Another commonly encountered issue is related to the use of third-party libraries that may contain vulnerabilities. The researchers noted that CVE-2019-12255 and CVE 2019-12264, for example, are severe vulnerabilities in the IPNet TCP/IP stack used by the ENEA OS of Alaris Infusion Pumps.

[ READ: Hackers Could Harm Diabetics via Insulin Pump Attacks ]

The researchers point out that potential attacks could be easily identified through continuous monitoring of infusion systems for anomalous behavior, such as a large number of reset packets coming from outside the network, invalid values in User Agent string, transmission of sensitive data over HTTP, the use of factory default credentials, or the presence of anomalous port numbers and counts in network traffic.

“Overall, most of the common security alerts raised on infusion systems indicate avenues of attacks that the device owner should be aware of, for example, via internet connections or via default username and password usage,” the security researchers say.

Given that some infusion pumps are used for up to 10 years, healthcare providers looking to ensure the security of devices, data, and patients are advised to identify and inventory all of their assets, proactively search for vulnerabilities and compliance gaps, apply risk-reduction policies, and implement strong detection and prevention capabilities within their environments.

Related: Medtronic Recalls Medical Devices Due to Major Security Risks

Related: NIST’s New Advice on Medical IoT Devices

Related: Hackers Could Harm Diabetics via Insulin Pump Attacks

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join this webinar to learn best practices that organizations can use to improve both their resilience to new threats and their response times to incidents.


Join this live webinar as we explore the potential security threats that can arise when third parties are granted access to a sensitive data or systems.


Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.


Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...

Data Protection

The CRYSTALS-Kyber public-key encryption and key encapsulation mechanism recommended by NIST for post-quantum cryptography has been broken using AI combined with side channel attacks.

Data Protection

The cryptopocalypse is the point at which quantum computing becomes powerful enough to use Shor’s algorithm to crack PKI encryption.


The changing nature of what we still generally call ransomware will continue through 2023, driven by three primary conditions.

Data Breaches

LastPass DevOp engineer's home computer hacked and implanted with keylogging malware as part of a sustained cyberattack that exfiltrated corporate data from the cloud...

Application Security

PayPal is alerting roughly 35,000 individuals that their accounts have been targeted in a credential stuffing campaign.


No one combatting cybercrime knows everything, but everyone in the battle has some intelligence to contribute to the larger knowledge base.