[LINK] Implant risks

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Sun May 30 21:29:37 AEST 2010

WTF? Ignoble Prize coming up!

The RFID hip isn't "intimately connected" to this guy, and neither is he 
in any meaningful way "infected" with a computer virus. 

Yes, of course sophisticated medical devices are potential carriers of 
viruses, but didn't we know this already? 


Steve Wilson
[Former director of software engineering for a medical device company]

stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
> Scientist Becomes First Human 'Infected' With Computer Virus
> As implantable medical device technology advances, so will potential 
> risks, researcher warns.
> <http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/639597.html>
> FRIDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Implantable devices, such as 
> pacemakers, defibrillators and cochlear implants, are becoming vulnerable 
> to "infection" with computer viruses, a researcher in England warns.
> To prove his point, Mark Gasson, a scientist at the University of 
> Reading's School of Systems Engineering, allowed himself to become  
> "Exhibit A."
> Gasson said he became the first person in the world to be infected with a 
> computer virus after he "contaminated" a high-end radio frequency 
> identification (RFID) computer chip -- the kind often used as a security 
> tag in stores to prevent theft -- which he had implanted into his left 
> hand.
> The point, Gasson explained, was to draw attention to the risks involved 
> with the use of increasingly sophisticated implantable medical device 
> technology.
> "Our research shows that implantable technology has developed to the 
> point where implants are capable of communicating, storing and 
> manipulating data," he said in a university news release. "They are 
> essentially mini computers. This means that, like mainstream computers, 
> they can be infected by viruses and the technology will need to keep pace 
> with this so that implants, including medical devices, can be safely used 
> in the future."
> Gasson is scheduled to present his findings at the IEEE International 
> Symposium on Technology and Society, held June 7 to 9 in Australia, for 
> which he also will serve as chairman.
> The chip Gasson had implanted enabled him to access his place of work and 
> his cell phone, as well as allowing others to track and profile his 
> movements.
> But once "infected," the chip disrupted the proper functioning of the 
> mainframe system with which it had been communicating, and would have 
> done the same to any other device that might have been similarly hooked 
> up to the network, he said.
> "By infecting my own implant with a computer virus, we have demonstrated 
> how advanced these technologies are becoming and also had a glimpse at 
> the problems of tomorrow," Gasson said.
> "Much like people with medical implants, after a year of having the 
> implant, I very much feel that it is part of my body," he added. "While 
> it is exciting to be the first person to become infected by a computer 
> virus in this way, I found it a surprisingly violating experience because 
> the implant is so intimately connected to me but the situation is 
> potentially out of my control."
> --
> Cheers,
> Stephen
> _______________________________________________
> Link mailing list
> Link at mailman.anu.edu.au
> http://mailman.anu.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/link

More information about the Link mailing list