Protecting Medical Implants From Attack

Millions of Peoples  have implantable medical devices, from pacemakers and defibrillators to brain stimulators and drug pumps; worldwide, 300,000 more people receive them every year. Most such devices have wireless connections, so that doctors can monitor patients’ vital signs or revise treatment programs. But recent research has shown that this leaves the devices vulnerable to attack: In the worst-case scenario, an attacker could kill a victim by instructing an implantable device to deliver lethal doses of medication or electricity

Ever since researchers have demonstrated that hacking implantable cardiac devices is a theoretical possibility, there’s been a fear going around that someone will actually go through with the evil act and kill some people. To prevent this possibility, researchers from MIT and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst have developed a wireless filter that will jam all signals on a given frequency except those that have been authorized by its encryption system. The researchers envision that in the future, implant wearers will have a separate device on their body that manages wireless access to the implant. In an emergency, though, paramedics will be able to quickly remove this filter and be able to quickly access the implant.

More from an MIT announcement:

Because the jamming transmitter, rather than the implant, would handle encryption and authentication, the system would work even with existing implants.

The key to the system, Katabi [Dina Katabi, associate professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science] explains, is a new technique that allows the shield to simultaneously send and receive signals in the same frequency band. With ordinary wireless technology, that’s not possible: The transmitted signal would interfere with the received signal, rendering it unintelligible. Researchers at Stanford University recently demonstrated a transmitter that could send and receive at the same time, but it required three antennas whose distance from each other depended on the wavelength at which they were operating. For medical-device frequencies, the antennas would have to be about a half a meter apart, making it impossible to miniaturize the shield.

The MIT-UMass system uses only two antennas and clever signal processing that obviates the need to separate them. “Think of the jamming signal that we are creating as a secret key,” Katabi explains. “Everyone who doesn’t know the secret key just sees a garbage signal.” Because the shield knows the shape of its own jamming signal, however, it can, in effect, subtract it from the received signal.

MEDICALBUY.NET-Protecting Medical Implants From Attack……………………………..

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