World-First Cyber Security Trial To Keep Hospitals Safe

A cutting-edge cyber security device that protects medical equipment in hospitals from being hacked will be trialled in Victoria in a world-first global pilot.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings announced today that the Andrews Labor Government will fund a pilot with Western Health to trial 400 Cyber-Nexus anti-hacking devices developed by Israeli firm Bio-Nexus.

The Cyber-Nexus device provides two-layered security protection for medical equipment such as heart rate monitors and intravenous pumps that stop the equipment from being taken over or compromised by hackers.

Protecting Victoria’s health system from cyber threats is a key focus of the Labor Government in light of the increasing prevalence of malicious cyberattacks both here in Victoria and internationally.

Earlier this year the United Kingdom’s NHS was crippled by a global ransomware attack, with connections between computers and medical equipment brought down and patient records, appointment schedules, phone lines and emails inaccessible as a result of the virus.

The $457,000 project is being funded by the Labor Government’s $11 million Public Sector Innovation Fund.

It is expected to run for around six months and will include the installation of the devices, staff training, two tests and analysis of results.

This investment in protecting critical infrastructure from cyberattacks complements the work being done by Victoria’s Cyber Security Centre which houses the $30 million Cyber Security Growth Centre, the CSIRO’s Data61 and Israeli cyber security training company CyberGym.

It also follows the launch of the Labor Government’s Cyber Security Strategy – the first state in Australia to do so – and Cyber Victoria in May this year – a key step on the path to becoming the first cyber-ready city in Australia.

The pilot is in addition to the close to $12 million provided in the Victorian Budget 2017/18 to establish a dedicated fund to protect hospitals from cyberattacks.

A number of grants have been awarded since the Fund’s launch in December 2015 for projects including Monash University’s project to boost the immunisation rates of secondary school students, and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre’s development of online Family Violence Intervention Order applications.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“When Victorians find themselves in hospital the last thing we want them to have to worry about is technology breaking down due to cyberattacks – all we want them to worry about is getting better.”

“This project is about using the latest technology to keep our hospitals safe from malicious threats from hackers.” 

Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings

“This world-first trial will not only help protect our hospitals and patients from malicious cyber hackers – it further cements our reputation as Australia’s cyber security hub.”

Quotes attributable to State Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman

“This trial will use the latest cutting-edge technology to fight cyber threats and keep our hospitals safe, and we’re proud to run it right here in Melbourne’s west.”