Report warns IoT medical devices are far too vulnerable to cyberattacks

16 Mar 2018

Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

This week in IoT, connected medical devices don’t hold up to scrutiny, while Cisco’s vice-president wants the US to replicate China in its adoption of the technology.

There was a lot going on in the internet of things (IoT) space this week in Ireland, most notably Dublin City University (DCU) announcing that it is to open a new facility capable of holding 350 to develop IoT projects in partnership with co-working provider Talent Garden.

The network will locate what has been described as a unique new facility at the DCU Alpha innovation campus and will also feature Talent Garden’s Innovation School, a digital skills ‘bootcamp’ education platform, which will work in partnership with DCU Business School to upskill entrepreneurs and assist corporates on their digital journeys.

Meanwhile, a report from ComReg shows that almost 14pc of all mobile subscriptions are now machine-to-machine (M2M) SIMs.

The report highlighted that M2M subscriptions increased to 828,780 – a 23.6pc annual increase. This made up 13.8pc of all mobile subscriptions in Q4 2017.

IoT medical devices open targets for cyberattacks

Last week, we highlighted the vulnerability of most off-the-shelf IoT devices to becoming pawns in a massive DDoS attack, and now it is the turn of medical devices to be put under the spotlight.

A report from the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK said that cyberattacks on connected health devices are an “increasing concern”, particularly pacemakers and MRI scanners.

Significant work needs to be done to ensure their safety, and the academy admitted that while it concludes there is no silver bullet for improving cybersecurity and resilience, it calls on organisations to demand that products are ‘secure by default’ and recommend a number of measures.

These include mandatory risk management procedures for critical infrastructure, supply chain transparency, international ‘umbrella agreements’ on IoT and ethical frameworks being put in place.

“We cannot totally avoid failures or attacks, but we can design systems that are highly resilient and will recover quickly,” said Prof Nick Jennings, lead author of the report.

Cisco VP says US needs to learn from China on IoT

A vice-president of one of the US’s biggest tech companies has recently admitted in Forbes that his country has a lot to learn from its Asian superpower rival.

Cisco vice-president Maciej Kranz said he was mesmerised by the difference 25 years makes when comparing his first and last visits to the country.

“When I first visited Beijing 25 years ago, the streets and sidewalks overflowed with people, bicycles and trucks. I just returned from my 14th visit and, while the bustle of traffic remains, there’s a tangible difference,” he said.

“Today, smart fleets of bicycles, buses and trains embedded with IoT technologies are making urban transportation smarter, more accessible and efficient.”

Speaking of replicating this success in the US, Kranz said: “To excel on the global stage, it’s time to engage with Chinese partners and learn from their success.”

Singapore is the best-performing smart city

It might come as no surprise, but Singapore has been ranked the top-performing smart city in the world, according to Juniper Research and Intel.

The Global Smart City Performance Index 2017 released this week looked at four different areas – mobility, health, safety and productivity – across 20 different cities.

Its purpose was to, as close as possible, accurately measure whether technology in a city is having a noticeable improvement on the quality of life of its citizens.

Where Singapore has excelled, the report’s authors said, was in traffic management, where cars have effectively been driven from the roads to make way for efficient public transport schemes. There is also a broad range of technologies designed to help elderly people live better lives.

“Analysts tend to focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world,” said Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research.

“We can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have. Connected communities, municipal services and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life.”

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic