[LINK] Implant risks

Richard Chirgwin rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Mon May 31 07:02:57 AEST 2010

I much preferred how this was reported in the Register:


> Captain Cyborg sidekick implants virus-infected chip
> First Mate Malware and the infected pacemakers of doom
> A second transhumanist RFID-chipping nut has emerged from the academic 
> community at the University of Reading.

The Uni of Reading cranks and kooks are an IQ test for journalists - 
does the journalist laugh or play it straight? Businessweek failed the test.


Stephen Wilson wrote:
> 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? 
> Cheers,
> Steve Wilson
> [Former director of software engineering for a medical device company]
> Lockstep
> www.lockstep.com.au
> 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
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