ALVARO'S CYBER SECURITY COLUMN - HEALTH & CYBER ATTACKS
'Smart' medical devices connected to the human body to monitor health and improve our well-being are being taken up rapidly. This we call the Internet of Bodies. The use of these devices to monitor different parameters of our body has advantages, but also risks the privacy of the subject.
In November 2017, the Federation of Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first use of a "digital pill" that communicates from inside a patient's stomach via sensors, a smartphone, and the Internet. This follows the first artificial pancreas, a device that monitors and treats patients with type 1 diabetes. In August 2017, the FDA said that a serious security vulnerability in their embedded medical device code could allow an attacker to compromise the pacemaker and jeopardize their health. This event led to a product recall.
The more devices are connected, in this case to the human body, the easier it is for an attacker to kill a person or steal personal data. A cutting-edge digital terrorist will soon cause, for example, pacemakers to stop working and lead to the deaths of people who have them implanted.
The benefits of the Internet for society have been and will continue to be, enormous. Internet+ affects the world in a directly physical way. As everything is hyperconnected, the risks and dangers become more and more catastrophic.
Technological mishaps can have dire consequences. Authentication mechanisms in digital medical devices are not sufficiently protected and data encryption techniques for communication and storage are weak or even non-existent.
The tools we have do not allow us to be prepared for the rapid advance of these technologies. We must build security systems as robust as the threats themselves.
Alvaro Gonzalez Cyber security expert for BAT