June 11, 2012

Frontiers of Malware

In what amounts to a fairly shocking reminder of how quickly our technologies are advancing and how deeply our lives are being woven with networked computation, security researchers have recently reported successes in remotely compromising and controlling two different medical implant devices. Such implanted devices are becoming more and more common, implemented with wireless communications both across components and outward to monitors that allow doctors to non-invasively make changes to their settings. Until only recently, this technology was mostly confined to advanced labs but it is now moving steadily into our bodies. As these procedures become more common, researchers are now considering the security implications of wiring human anatomy directly into the web of ubiquitous computation and networked communications.

Damn. I’ve been calling for open access to some of the assistive devices I use, and now this. Who’d have thought I need to worry about antivirus software so I can walk. (Darker thoughts now that the possibility has been raised—I wonder what the vendor of my equipment is doing.)