Home Health Care  Medical device cybersecurity startup strikes partnership with Blackberry

 Medical device cybersecurity startup strikes partnership with Blackberry


Medical device security startup MedCrypt struck a partnership with Blackberry QNX, an operating system developed by Blackberry for medical devices, connected vehicles and other embedded systems. The system is used in surgical robots, heart monitors, ultrasound imaging systems, and other hospital equipment.

The partnership will make it easier for medical device companies that use Blackberry QNX’s systems to implement MedCrypt’s security features. For example, it can help devices encrypt data, detect potential attacks, and monitor devices for security vulnerabilities.

Old systems are a big problem in healthcare, with this vulnerability opening several hospitals to being infected during the WannaCry ransomware attacks in 2017. To combat this, MedCrypt says it can inform vendors if their devices are running on outdated software.

“We are excited to expand our BlackBerry QNX Partner network with the addition of MedCrypt,” BlackBerry Technology Solutions Co-Head Kaivan Karimi said in a news release. “As the explosion of connected devices drives new applications and solutions in healthcare and around the world, it also increases the risk of cyberthreats and breaches, requiring data and infrastructure to be secured at every layer.”

When CEO Mike Kijewski co-founded MedCrypt in 2016, medical device security was more of an afterthought. If hospitals and their cloud servers were secure, wasn’t that enough?

“There has always been this question of, is medical device cybersecurity really a thing?” Kijewski said in a phone interview. “It seems obvious now. It wasn’t obvious four years ago.”

At one of his first demos with a medical device vendor, he was advised to start a different company. But the attitude around cybersecurity has changed significantly since then, even more so with the Covid-19 pandemic. In April, the FBI warned of hackers breaching hospitals’ networks through their hardware and software systems.

“That really highlights the fact that this is a real practical problem,” Kijewski said. “Now, device vendors are taking a much more proactive approach. That way they can ensure the devices themselves won’t become a target for a hacking attempt, or ensure the devices aren’t an entry point into a hospital network.”

The San Diego-based startup raised a $6.3 million series A last year led by Section 32. It also is a graduate of Y Combinator.


Photo credit: HYWARDS, Getty Images

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