Call for Papers: Evolving Threats in Cybersecurity and Radiation Oncology


In the weeks leading up to the national elections in November of 2020, while much of our nation's attention was focused on political issues, there were a series of cyberattacks on U.S. Healthcare institutions. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Safety Agency issued an advisory on October 28, 2020, noting that "CISA, FBI, and HHS have credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers."

The very technical and complex nature of radiation oncology combined with the escalation of cyber-attacks and changes of tactics from malicious actors may influence the risk profile of service providers, especially when the delay in receiving treatments may prove to be fatal. A recent attack on the University of Vermont Health Network resulted in an IT outage that lasted more than 40 days and was estimated to cost more than $63 million U.S. dollars to resolve. Delivery of radiation therapy was delayed for as much as 13 days for some patients due to the loss of the Radiation Oncology Department's information management system. This incident was unique in the severity of the impact of the attack, but hardly unique.

We feel that this subject is very timely and of critical importance for our specialty, and are calling for original scientific studies, clinical trials, review articles, and opinion pieces on its many aspects that addresses the following challenges in cybersecurity and cybercrime that is of great importance:

  • Social engineering attacks such as email phishing and business email compromise
  • Increased attempts to exploit internet facing vulnerabilities of organizations.
  • Exploitation of system administration tools
  • Ineffective monitoring of critical IT systems
  • Human operated ransomware risks

ASTRO's Advances welcomes the submissions of scientific manuscripts, commentary, and firsthand accounts of how providers and institutions are meeting these challenges. Our deadline for manuscript submission is June 30, 2022. To submit, send papers through the journal's submission system and select "Cybersecurity" as the article type. Please reach out to the editorial office with any questions at [email protected].

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