Fire Systems: Overlooked Cybersecurity Targets

Fire and life safety systems with cyber weaknesses can compromise safety

By Dan Hounsell

Healthcare facilities have struggled to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic over the last 15 months, and cybercriminals found relative ease in launching attacks on vulnerable targets. But while data breaches flood the headlines, they are not the only way cybercriminals can threaten patient safety.

Attacks on fire systems can create false alarms, loss of communication or denial of service, according to Health Facilities Management. A malfunctioning fire alarm system could interrupt patient care and compromise safety. The common thread for hackers is that any weak point in a building’s information technology infrastructure can be exploited and used as a pathway for attack. 

Fire and life safety systems with cyber weaknesses have the potential to compromise safety, which is why the prospect of cyberattacks is being addressed in 16 NFPA codes and standards, including the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

May 17, 2021

Topic Area: Information Technology

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