Behavioral responses to a cyber attack in a hospital environment

Abstract

Technical and organizational steps are necessary to mitigate cyber threats and reduce risks. Human behavior is the last line of defense for many hospitals and is considered as equally important as technical security. Medical staff must be properly trained to perform such procedures. This paper presents the first qualitative, interdisciplinary research on how members of an intermediate care unit react to a cyberattack against their patient monitoring equipment. We conducted a simulation in a hospital training environment with 20 intensive care nurses. By the end of the experiment, 12 of the 20 participants realized the monitors’ incorrect behavior. We present a qualitative behavior analysis of high performing participants (HPP) and low performing participants (LPP). The HPP showed fewer signs of stress, were easier on their colleagues, and used analog systems more often than the LPP. With 40% of our participants not recognizing the attack, we see room for improvements through the use of proper tools and provision of adequate training to prepare staff for potential attacks in the future.

Publication
Scientific Reports
Eva Gerlitz
Eva Gerlitz
Ph.D. Student
Maximilian Häring
Maximilian Häring
Ph.D. Student