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Hacking Medical Mannequins

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Medical staffers practice on the iStan medical mannequin.

Researchers at the University of South Alabama is investigating the hacking of medical mannequins.


Researchers at the University of South Alabama are investigating potential breaches of medical mannequins used in training.  

A study by the team led by professor William Bradley Glisson found no injuries or deaths associated with hacked medical equipment, but seeks to technically prepare against the growing threat of cyber intrusions. The researchers say medical staff should learn to recognize issues and effectively interpret and interact with flawed data.

The team investigated the ease of compromising a training mannequin system by tampering with communication vulnerabilities identified between the device and its controlling computer.  The mannequin model studied, called iStan, is a wireless patient simulator device used at the university's College of Nursing. The device can bleed, secrete bodily fluids, has a blood pressure and heart rate, and breathes realistically. The simulator links with iStan software, which controls the mannequin remotely. By identifying the network security solution and network protocol as the vulnerable components, the team was able to carry out brute-force attacks against the router PIN, as well as denial-of-service attacks using open source tools such as BackTrack.

The researchers hope to carry out further vulnerability assessment and intrusion testing of other manufacturers' training mannequins, in addition to devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators.

From The Stack (UK)
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