Man infected with computer virus? Sci-fi or security threat?

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05/28/2010

cyborg2

I recently blogged about advancements in PERS, mPERS, telehealth, telemedicine and security, in general, becoming more mobile, more personal and compact as technology improves. I came across a couple stories in the last few days that I found particularly interesting and topical to that previous post.

MSNBC reported a researcher had recently run a test whereby he proved that telehealth technology was not without its own security risks. This guy apparently infected an implanted RFID chip (similar to ones used to track pets) in his hand with a computer virus and then used ordinary RFID readers to scan said chip. Just what you might think would happen, happened: his infection spread to the scanning equipment. In other words, he became the first non-infected human vector for an invasive computer virus… weird.

The MSNBC report says the researcher wanted to show that as telehealth solutions (pacemakers, for example, or insulin pumps) become more advanced (as in they will, as shown in this other story I came across about a new glucose-driven fuel cell technology that may eventually lead to very long-lived power supplies making it practical to implant more and more devices within the human body) the danger exists for new security threats to computer infrastructure—not to mention to the human bodies carrying the infected devices.

Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? Or real problems that might arise in the nascent field of bionics.