Microsoft wants pacemaker password tattoos

Microsoft wants pacemaker password tattoos
Microsoft wants pacemaker password tattoos 

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco 
The Register
16th April 2010

A Microsoft researcher has suggested tattooing passwords on patients 
with pacemakers and other implanted medical devices to ensure the 
remotely-controlled gadgets can be accessed during emergencies.

The proposal, by Stuart Schechter of Microsoft Research, is the latest 
to grapple with the security of implanted medical devices equipped with 
radio transmitters they can be controlled without the need for surgery. 
Besides pacemakers, other types of potentially vulnerable devices 
include insulin pumps and cardiac defibrillators.

In 2008, researchers demonstrated that heart monitors were susceptible 
to wireless hacks that caused pacemakers to shut off or leak personal 
information. But equally devastating are scenarios in which physicians 
are unable to provide emergency care because they don't have the access 
codes needed to control the devices.

In a paper published last week, Schechter proposed that access to such 
devices be controlled with encryption similar to what's used on wi-fi 
networks. Access keys would then be tattooed on patients using ink 
that's invisible under most conditions.


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