Thursday, January 17, 2013

More news on medical devices

Some recent stories on medical devices and medical-related issues.

  • Listen to my heart beat: HeartID is biometric software that uses your heartbeat to identify you.  It can also be used to continuously monitor the user to make sure it is still the same person who originally logged in.  It's definitely an interesting idea.  You kind of wonder though how accurate this type of thing can be.  Is a normal heart beat unique enough to reliably identify a person?   Especially if you try to log in right after a big fight with your spouse or you're just not feeling well.  How accurate will this perform over the long run?
  • Medical system hacked: SC Magazine reports that researchers have discovered it is possible to hack into patient information in the Philips Xper system.  The researchers also speculate the system uses hard-coded user name and passwords.  This is probably just the tip of the iceberg with this kind of stuff.  For years, all different types of medical systems, monitors and devices were created without even an ounce of security.  Now it's catching up, and fast.  Hopefully it's not too late to get some of this corrected before things get too out of hand.  Although some would say we're almost there now.
  •  Stop checking me out:  Interesting statistics on health care record breaches. It's amazing with all the press this kind of problem has been receiving that there are still new occurrences every week.  It's not always about evil hackers breaking in and stealing the data.  How often do we see news about some laptop getting lost or some usb stick or drive with thousands of patient records misplaced or stolen?  Well, I just ran into the store to get a few things and when I came out, the laptop/drive/tape wasn't on the front seat where I left it.  Gee, really?  Tell me the data was at least password protected or encrypted?  Of course it was.  I made a really good password that nobody can guess and wrote it down on the little sticky note I taped beside the laptop touchpad.