Internet of things in the healthcare sector: Overview of security and privacy issues

Suvini P Amaraweera, Malka N. Halgamuge

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The Internet of Things (IoT) in health care is an emerging trend which provides a substantial amount of efficient and effective services for patients as well as healthcare professionals for the treatment of various diseases. Although the IoT paradigm offers numerous benefits, there are also inherent security and privacy challenges in relation to patient data. This chapter aims to investigate such security and privacy-related issues of the IoT healthcare applications that often operate on Cloud and Fog Computing architectures. In this chapter, 30 peer-reviewed publications from the years 2016 to 2018 are reviewed to construct a structured guide for the identification of related problems. Healthcare software applications, service architectures, patient data, and diverse sensory devices used are some of the factors considered for the collection of data, determination of related security and privacy issues, and implications of the said problems. Based on the factors, a comparison table is developed for analysis. Results show that most of these applications are used for remote patient care and monitoring. Furthermore, the results show that most threats occur due to unauthorized access to data, data breaches, and impersonation. Considering the IoT healthcare applications architecture (consisting of application, communication, device, network, and transport layers), we find that the device layer is the most affected layer regarding the security issues. Since most of the similar studies are limited to providing solutions regarding a specific aspect of security and privacy without considering the entire process, we have carried out additional research for a holistic approach to solve the bigger problem. We suggest that application developers should pay particular attention to these threats when designing IoT healthcare applications to provide secure and efficient applications to enhance the services within the healthcare sector. This study could be helpful to plan mitigation methodologies to conquer the inherent vulnerabilities in the IoT healthcare applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecurity, privacy and trust in the IoT environment
EditorsZaigham Mahmood
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
ISBN (Electronic)9783030180751
ISBN (Print)9783030180744
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2019


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