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Pacemaker Recall Exposes National Need for Research and Education in Embedded Security


A pacemaker in use.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has implemented its first major recall of pacemakers due to a cybersecurity risk.

Credit: Medline.gov

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's first major recall of pacemakers due to a cybersecurity risk highlights a national need for computing research and education on embedded security--an essential pillar in the Internet of Things, according to Computing Community Consortium Cybersecurity Task Force chair Kevin Fu.

"As devices and systems are increasingly interconnected, security has become a critical property of their embedded hardware and software," says the National Academy of Engineering's Sam H. Fuller.

Fu notes colleagues from various universities are exploring constructive strategies to enhance embedded security for healthcare as part of the U.S. National Science Foundation's Trustworthy Health and Wellness Frontiers Project.

"Academic partnerships with industry are key to improving embedded security," Fu says.

He cites Cornell University's Greg Morrisett, who believes "wherever computation can have a direct effect on human safety, and especially where that computation is connected to the broader Internet, we desperately need new research ideas and new practical methodologies for gaining assurance."

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