Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Massachusetts, Amherst researchers have developed a laptop-sized device that emits a jamming signal whenever it detects an unauthorized wireless link being established between a medical implant and a remote terminal, in an attempt to stop hackers from attacking patients with insulin pumps, pacemakers, and other types of implants equipped with wireless radios.
The key innovation is the new radio design that the shield uses for jamming. The shield allows a jamming signal to be broadcast while it receives data signals from the implant and relays them over a secure link, which lets the doctors download data while the shield is jamming the attacker.
"If you just do simple jamming [broadcasting radio noise on a given frequency], then the attacker doesn't get the information, but the doctor doesn't either," says MIT professor Dina Katabi.
The researchers fed an antidote signal for the jamming signal into the receiving antenna, canceling out the jamming noise. During testing, the shield was able to completely block unauthorized communications with standard medical terminals. The shield could be a better option to building encryption directly into implants, according to the researchers.
From Technology Review
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