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Trustworthiness of medical devices and body area networks

Author(s): Zhang, M; Raghunathan, A; Jha, Niraj K

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Abstract: Implantable and wearable medical devices (IWMDs) are commonly used for diagnosing, monitoring, and treating various medical conditions. A general trend in these medical devices is toward increased functional complexity, software programmability, and connectivity to body area networks (BANs). However, as IWMDs become more 'intelligent,' they also become less trustworthy - less reliable and more prone to attacks. Various shortcomings - hardware failures, software errors, wireless attacks, malware and software exploits, and side-channel attacks - could undermine the trustworthiness of IWMDs and BANs. While these concerns have been recognized for some time, recent demonstrations of security attacks on commercial products, e.g., pacemakers and insulin pumps, have elevated medical device security from the realm of theoretical possibility to an immediate concern. The trustworthiness of IWMDs must be addressed aggressively and proactively due to the potential for catastrophic consequences. Conventional fault tolerance and information security solutions, e.g., redundancy and cryptography, that have been employed in general-purpose and embedded computing systems cannot be applied to many IWMDs due to their extreme size and power constraints and unique usage models. While several recent efforts address defense of IWMDs against specific security attacks, a holistic strategy that considers all concerns and types of threats is required. This paper discusses trustworthiness concerns in IWMDs and BANs through a comprehensive identification and analysis of potential threats and, for each threat, provides a discussion of the merits and inadequacies of current solutions.
Publication Date: 6-Jun-2014
Electronic Publication Date: 6-Jun-2014
Citation: Zhang, M, Raghunathan, A, Jha, NK. (2014). Trustworthiness of medical devices and body area networks. Proceedings of the IEEE, 102 (1174 - 1188. doi:10.1109/JPROC.2014.2322103
DOI: doi:10.1109/JPROC.2014.2322103
Pages: 1174 - 1188
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Proceedings of the IEEE
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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