A sensor that uses biometrics to identify a user could prevent hacking of medical devices, a team of computer scientists proposed during the 3rd Usenix Workshop of Health Security and Privacy workshop, which took place in Bellevue, WA, USA this week. By using bioimpedance (the measurement of the body’s response to a small electrical shock applied to the skin), the device could determine the identity, environment, location, activity and social context of the user. The sensor could connect to a medical device such as an implant and establish secure communication, Ars Technica reports.
The paper was written by six researchers from the Thayer School of Engineering and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH, USA). A device developed by the researchers accurately identified people 90% of time during experiments. The next step is to develop a wearable prototype, which the researchers envision could be worn as a wristband.
The possibility that medical devices could be hacked remotely has been demonstrated by several security researchers, including Barnaby Jack, researcher at McAfee, and Jay Radcliffe, security expert at IBM. The device described in the paper could prevent such incidents from happening in the real world, but it could have its own vulnerabilities, cautions Ars Technica. For example, just as researchers have demonstrated ways to maliciously hack devices, scientists have already demonstrated how eye scanners can be tricked by synthetic iris images.Camilla Andersson