Cybersecurity for the travelling scientist

Virtual private networks, tracking apps and ‘burner’ laptops: how to protect sensitive data when you take your research on the road.

Mark Gerstein has had his fair share of scares when it comes to losing track of his electronic devices — and, along with them, access to his private information and research data.

“I’m very security conscious, but also a bit of an absent-minded professor,” says Gerstein, a bioinformatician at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Read more in Nature.

‘Ransomware’ cyberattack highlights vulnerability of universities

Staff at Canadian university given little guidance on how to mitigate future problems.

The first Patrick Feng knew about a cyberattack on his university was when one of his colleagues told him that her computer had been infected by hackers and rendered unusable.

Feng, who studies technology and sustainability policy at the University of Calgary in Canada, immediately checked the Dropbox folder that he was sharing with that colleague — and found that it, too, had been compromised.

“The hackers had created encrypted copies of all my Dropbox files and deleted the originals,” he says. “And there was a ransom note demanding bitcoin to unlock them.” Read more in Nature.

Stronger rules needed for medical device cybersecurity

Experts say that health systems in the USA and other countries are not prepared for cybersecurity threats and existing and draft regulations are weak.

The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) latest draft guidelines for post-market management of cybersecurity risks in medical devices are a good start, but need to be given greater force to ensure the health-care sector starts taking cybersecurity more seriously, according to cybersecurity experts. Read more in The Lancet.