Archive for Hardware

Your Password Can Be Guessed By An App Listening To Your Keystrokes

Researchers from SMU’s (Southern Methodist University) Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber-security have found that the sound waves produced when we type on a computer keyboard can be picked up by a smartphone and a skilled hacker could decipher which keys were struck.

Why?

The research was carried out to test whether the ‘always-on’ sensors in devices such as smartphones could be used to eavesdrop on people who use laptops in public places (if the phones were on the same table as the laptop) e.g. coffee shops and libraries, and whether there was a way to successfully decipher what was being typed from just the acoustic signals.

Where?

The experiment took place in a simulated noisy Conference Room at SMU where the researchers arranged several people, talking to each other and taking notes on a laptop. As many as eight mobile phones were placed on the same table as the laptops or computers, anywhere from three inches to several feet away. The study participants were not given scripts of what to say when talking, could use shorthand or full sentences when typing and could either correct typewritten errors or leave them.

What Happened?

Eric C. Larson, one of the two lead authors and an assistant professor in SMU Lyle School’s Department of Computer Science reported that the researchers were able to pick up what people were typing at an amazing 41 per cent word accuracy rate and that that this could probably be extended above 41 per cent if what researchers figured out what the top 10 words might be.

Sensors In Smart Phones

The researchers highlighted the fact that there are several sensors in smartphones that are used for orientation and although some require permission to be switched on, some are always on.  It was the sensors that were always switched on that the researchers were able to develop a specialised app for which could process the sensor output and, therefore, predict the key that was pressed by a typist.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Most of us may be aware of the dangers of using public Wi-Fi and how to take precautions such as using a VPN.  It is much less well-known, however, that smartphones have sensors that are always on and could potentially be used (with a special app) to eavesdrop.

Mobile device manufacturers may want to take note of this research and how their products may need to be modified to prevent this kind of hack.

Also, users of laptops may wish to consider the benefits of using a password manager for auto-filling instead of typing in passwords and potentially giving those passwords away.

Facial Recognition at King’s Cross Prompts ICO Investigation

The UK’s data protection watchdog (the Information Commissioner’s Office  i.e. the ICO) has said that it will be investigating the use of facial recognition cameras at King’s Cross by Property Development Company Argent.

What Happened?

Following reports in the Financial Times newspaper, the ICO says that it is launching an investigation into the use of live facial recognition in the King’s Cross area of central London.  It appears that the Property Development Company, Argent, had been using the technology for an as-yet-undisclosed period, and using an as-yet-undisclosed number of cameras. A reported statement by Argent (in the Financial Times) says that Argent had been using the system to “ensure public safety”, and that facial recognition is one of several methods that the company employs to this aim.

ICO

The ICO has said that, as part of its enquiry, as well requiring detailed information from the relevant organisations (Argent in this case) about how the technology is used, it will also inspect the system and its operation on-site to assess whether or not it complies with data protection law.

The data protection watchdog has made it clear in a statement on its website that if organisations want to use facial recognition technology they must comply with the law and they do so in a fair, transparent and accountable way. The ICO will also require those companies to document how and why they believe their use of the technology is legal, proportionate and justified.

Privacy

The main concern for the ICO and for privacy groups such as Big Brother Watch is that people’s faces are being scanned to identify them as they lawfully go about their daily lives, and all without their knowledge or understanding. This could be considered a threat to their privacy.  Also, with GDPR in force, it is important to remember that if a person’s face (if filmed e.g. with CCTV) is part of their personal data, and the handling, sharing, and security of that data also becomes an issue.

Private Companies

An important area of concern to the ICO, in this case, is the fact that a private company is using facial recognition becasuse the use of this technology by private companies is difficult to monitor and control.

Problems With Police Use

Following criticism of the Police use of facial recognition technology in terms of privacy, accuracy, bias, and management of the image database, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has recently called for a temporary halt in the use of the facial recognition systems.  This follows an announcement in December 2018 by the ICO’s head, Elizabeth Dunham, that a formal investigation was being launched into how police forces use facial recognition technology (FRT) after high failure rates, misidentifications and worries about legality, bias, and privacy.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The use of facial recognition technology is being investigated by the ICO and a government committee has even called for a halt in its use over several concerns. The fact that a private company (Argent) was found, in this case, to be using the technology has therefore caused even more concern and has highlighted the possible need for more regulation and control in this area.

Companies and organisations that want to use facial recognition technology should, therefore, take note that the ICO will require them to document how and why they believe their use of the technology is legal, proportionate and justified, and make sure that they comply with the law in a fair, transparent and accountable way.

Robot Tuck Shops About To Hit U.S. College Campuses

San Francisco-based start-up, Starship Technologies, has announced that it will be putting food delivery robots that respond to phone app orders on 100 U.S. university campuses in the next 24 months.

The Bots

It has been reported that 25 to 50 of the (23Kg battery-powered, six-wheeled) Starship bots will be let loose on each campus, with the ability to roam around seven days a week, from 8 am to 2 am. The self-driving bots drive at 4 mph and use 10 cameras, radar, ultrasound sensors, GPS, computer vision and neural networks to process what they see in order to negotiate their way safely around a 4 km radius.

The bot’s cargo bay is mechanically locked during the journey and can only be opened by the customer with their smartphone app. The location of the robots is tracked, so that customer knows the exact location of their order and receives a notification at the time of arrival.

Food

The college campus robots will be delivering breakfast, snacks, and a variety of other food to students on campus.  Also, the app can take orders from local restaurants which the Starship bots will deliver to students on the campus for $1.99 per shipment, with Starship getting paid by the restaurant for making each delivery.

Benefits

The obvious benefits of the food delivery robots are that they can work whatever hours they are required all year round with no pay, no holiday and no need for breaks. Also, the Starship bots have an advantage over other local delivery services because the bots are small, manoeuvrable, know their way around the expansive campuses (thanks to pre-loaded, 3D maps), there are several bots working on one site, and they won’t need to be subject to any authorisation checks for being there.

Bigger Goals

Starship has bigger plans for the bots and is reported to have the goal of getting the bots onto college campuses across the US serving 1 million students.

Starship has also started a package delivery service in neighbourhoods and parts deliveries on business and industrial campuses using the bots.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Amazon has been making the news over the past couple of years with its delivery drones and ‘Scout’ delivery robots, and the well-funded start-up Starship ($40 million in new funding) has shown how it has been able to move quickly into a niche and join the growing delivery robot/drone industry.  For the robot and drone operating companies (Amazon, UPS, Google, Starship) these bots offer a way to reduce costs, avoid road congestion problems, avoid labour problems, and potentially deliver 24 hours a day all year round.  Users of bot and drone services can expect convenience, greater control over orders, and the novelty and fun of the delivery experience.

The benefits of drones and robots, however, may come at the expense of jobs, more of which are being taken away by the advance of technology-fuelled automation across many industries.

Apple Launches ‘Apple Card’

Apple has launched its ‘Apple Card’ in the US in partnership with Goldman Sachs and with processing by Mastercard.

Card

The Apple Card can now be applied for by customers in the US through the Wallet app on iPhone (iPhone 6 and later).  The physical laser-etched card, which is made of titanium and has a typically clean Apple design has no card number, no CVV security code, and no expiration date or signature on it.  Although you can buy using the card, the real Apple Card product is incorporated in the Wallet on the customer’s iPhone and works through Apple Pay. Apple says that the card can be used to make purchases in stores, in apps and on websites.

Advantages

Apple says that the Apple Card is built on simplicity, transparency and privacy and that it completely rethinks everything about the credit card. The main advantages of the Apple Card are:

  • There are no fees.
  • It gives instant cashback on purchases.  When you buy something on the Apple Card, you receive a percentage of your purchase back in Daily Cash every day, there’s no limit to how much you can get, and that cash goes right onto the Apple card it can be used it just like cash. Apple says that customers will get 2 per cent Daily Cash every time they use Apple Card with Apple Pay, and 3 per cent Daily Cash on all purchases made directly with Apple, including at Apple Stores, apple.com, the App Store, the iTunes Store and for Apple services.
  • It is secure.  There are no numbers on the card itself and using Apple Card through the iPhone means that it is covered by all the usual Apple Pay security features e.g. Face ID, Touch ID, unique transaction codes.
  • It offers much greater privacy.  Apple says that it doesn’t store the details of where you shop, what you bought, or how much you paid, and Goldman Sachs will not sell or share your spending data to any third-party. Also, Mastercard simply processes payments between parties on the global network.
  • The Apple Card shows you how to pay less interest.  For example, the Apple Card shows you a range of payment options and calculates the interest cost on different payment amounts in real-time.
  • The card can help you make more informed purchase choices.  For example, everything you buy gets a category (food, entertainment, shopping) and a colour-coded chart displays how much you’ve pending on each category.

Small Print Warning

This may all sound wonderful but some commentators have warned that when you sign up for the Apple Card you sign up to the standard agreement offered by Goldman Sachs.  Within this agreement is an arbitration clause that essentially means that you waive the right to make any claims, participate in a class action, or be heard in a court at trial for anything related to the agreement.

It is, however, possible to opt-out of the Goldman Sachs arbitration clause within 90 days after opening the account by contacting the company using messages, calling a toll-free number, or writing to a Philadelphia P.O. Box (Apple Card gives full instructions).

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

For other banks and credit companies that are still using traditional cards, this may represent a threat, as Apple, a trusted and globally known brand is offering something that appears to be more convenient, more secure, and has obvious instant cashback perks.

For Apple, this venture is a way that it can offer value and generate even deeper loyalty with and become more attached to the lives of its customers. This creates another important competitive advantage for the tech giant and allows it to gain a deeper understanding of its customers and their habits (even though it says it won’t share any information about those habits).

This also represents an opportunity for Apple to diversify at a time when its iPhone sales have been a bit flat and move towards the provision of services as well as hardware.

Amazon Echo: Child Labour Concerns

Reports of a 2018 investigation by China Labour Watch (CLW) into the Amazon Echo manufacture at the Hengyang Foxconn factory show that the recruiting of young interns from vocational schools could mean that the Amazon devices are made with the help of child labour.

Schools Providing Workers For Night Shifts

The report of the investigation by New York-based non-profit group CLW claims that a number of interns from schools and colleges were brought in to work night shifts and if they were unwilling to work overtime or night shifts, the factory would arrange for teachers to pressure those workers. The report also claims that if those interns refused to work overtime and night shifts, the factory requested teachers from their schools to sack them from the job.

In addition to the night shift work, the report claims that young interns were required to work ten hours a day, including two hours of overtime, and to work six days a week.

Which Schools and Colleges?

The report claims that schools sending interns to work at the Hengyang Foxconn factory which manufactures Amazon Echo devices included Sinosteel Hengyang Heavy Machinery Workers Technical College, Hengyang Technician College, Hengyang Vocational Secondary School, Hengyang Industrial Workers College, and Hengnan County Technical School.

Teachers and Schools Paid

The worrying report also claims that teachers assigned to the factory put immense pressure on interns and sometimes resorted to violence and aggression against interns.  Teachers who helped at the factory are reported to have received a 3000 RMB ($425) subsidy from the factory, with their school receiving 3RMB ($0.42) for every hour an intern worked.

Dispatch Workers

The report also claims that the factory had hired a high number of dispatch workers, violating Chinese labour law.

13 Violations Listed

The report lists 13 violations that Amazon has allegedly made at the factory including interns working night shifts and overtime, and interns having to keep their heads down at their workstation for an extended period while doing repetitive motions.

What Does Amazon Say?

Amazon has been reported as saying that it is investigating the allegations and has sent representatives to the factory site as part of that investigation.  Amazon is also keen to promote the fact that it has a supplier Code of Conduct, and that suppliers are regularly assessed in relation to this.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Child labour is generally a feature of the world’s poorest countries, where, according to UNICEF, around one in four children are engaged in work that is potentially harmful to their health.  For example, International Labour Organisation (ILO) figures show that almost half of child labour (72.1 million) is to be found in Africa, 62.1 million in the Asia and the Pacific, and 10.7 million in the Americas.

Sadly, labour laws in China are not as strictly enforced as in other countries, and although Foxconn may be keen to promote the idea that internships at the factory are the way for young people to gain practical work experience, the report’s allegations of children working long hours and nightshifts while being pressured by teachers doesn’t appear to fit in with that picture.

While most of us like to purchase lower-priced goods, we are often unaware of how they were made and at whose expense. Companies need to keep costs down, but child labour is something that most businesses would actively avoid and is something that consumers certainly do not like the idea of.  These allegations, therefore, could have a negative impact on Amazon, thereby adding to some its other recent troubled headlines such as reports last year of Amazon’s profits trebling while its UK tax bill was significantly reduced, and how on Amazon’s Prime Day sale this year, thousands of their workers protested at sites around the world demanding better working conditions.

A.I. Powered Bar-staff. Who’s Next?

In what’s been called the world’s first ‘A.I. Bar’ (developed by British data science product company DataSparQ) ordering a drink at a busy bar has been made easier, faster and fairer by using facial recognition technology to place customers in an “intelligently virtual” queue.

Solving Old Problems

Information and statistics (DataSparQ) show that pub-goers in Britain spend more than two months over a lifetime queuing for drinks and that people pushing in at bar queues is the biggest gripe.  Who to serve next as efficiently as possible without causing an argument, and how to spot underage customers at busy times are challenges faced by many bar workers.  Also, solo drinkers and females can find busy bars intimidating and frustrating.

The new DataSparQ ‘A.I. Bar’ Software-as-a-Service product, which costs landlords from just £199 a month and uses a standard webcam, display screen and Internet connection to link up to A.I facial recognition technology appears to be able to address all of these challenges.

How It Works

The A.I. Bar, which has been tested in London, uses a camera linked to the machine learning technology to spot those persons arriving at the bar.  The system displays a live video of everyone queuing on a screen above the bar and a number, which appears above each customer’s head, representing their place in the queue. The system also protects customer privacy by deleting the data (pictures of faces) within 24 hours.

For bar staff, the ordered numbering of customers, and the fact that customers are clearly aware of their number in the queue reduces the chance of arguments. The system shows the bar staff on an iPad, exactly who to serve next thereby helping bars and pubs to maximise their ordering efficiency. The system also tells bar staff who they should ask for I.D. to verify their age, thus helping the pub/bar to stay on the right side of the law.

More Pints Served

In tests of the system, the before and after data has revealed there was an overall reduction in serving times with equivalent of more than 1,600 pints extra poured over a year compared to the average UK pub.  This could equate to a potential 78million additional pints poured a year if the UK’s 48 thousand pubs adopted the A.I Bar technology.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

For UK pubs and any business which have to deal with busy bars (hotels, clubs, live music venues and festivals), this system is an example of how the latest technology can be used in a practical setting to solve a number of age-old problems that have troubled drinkers, owners and staff alike.  If this system was widely adopted, the efficiencies created, the extra beer sales, and the reduction of potentially intimidating situations in pubs could benefit the wider pub and drinks trades, and could go some way to helping at a time when so many pubs are being forced to close.

Brain Implants That Link Humans To Computers

Head of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk, has announced that human brain implants that can link directly to devices could be a reality within a year.

Neuralink

The implanted brain-computer interface (BCI) that Mr Musk talked about recently to the California Academy of Sciences audience in San Francisco will be known as a ‘Neuralink’.  Mr Musk believes that the operation to insert such an implant could be low risk and as affordable and non-invasive as laser eye surgery and would only require a short visit to a doctor rather than a hospital stay.

Why?

The main reason why Mr Musk has developed the Neuralink implant is as a possible way to counter the threat of Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming so far ahead of human thinking that it could pose a real threat to the existence of the human species.

Mr Musk believes that although humans now have access to large amounts of information via our devices, limitations such as the speed at which we can type could see us fall behind AI.  The ability to have a near-instantaneous, wireless communication between brain and computer via an implant would, therefore, give humans the chance to keep up with AI and, eventually, merge with AI to create access to superhuman intelligence and allowing a symbiotic relationship with AI.  The implant would, therefore, be a kind of ‘upgrade’ to enable our brains to compete with AI.

Another practical reason for the Neuralink implant and its ability to interface with computers could be to help tackle diseases.  For example, the version one Neuralink is capable of around 10,000 electrodes, which is 1,000 times more than the current FDA-approved systems for helping patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

AI Already Trusted

People are now getting more used to the benefits of AI which has led to increased trust in the technology in recent years.  For example, back in September 2017, research from US CRM and strategic applications company Pegasystems found that 60% of UK people would use more AI if it saved them time and money and that 68% of UK consumers would use software robots for banking services. Many consumers in the survey found that the ‘artificial’ aspect was, in fact, a positive because it meant that there was impartiality.

Chip Implants

The idea of implants to humans with technology is not new.  For example, back in 2018 the UK firm BioTeq revealed that it had already fitted 150 implants to people in the UK (between their thumb and forefinger) to enable them to quickly carry out tasks such as open doors, access offices or start cars with a wave of their hand, and also to store important medical data.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

AI brings many time and money-saving benefits to businesses, which is one of the reasons why, for example, Microsoft is investing $1bn in San Francisco-based company OpenAI (of which Elon Musk was an investor) for its work on artificial general intelligence (AGI). However, the threat of AI becoming too intelligent to the point of endangering its creators is, in fact, a real one.

For the time being, however, there are other concerns for businesses and individuals related to the possible threat of AI.  For example, the threat of how to effectively counter AI cyber-attacks should be a concern to businesses. Also, this month, the SB 1001 bot law comes into effect in California which means that it is now unlawful for a person or entity to use a bot to communicate or interact online with a person in California in order to incentivise a sale or transaction of goods or services or, indeed, as a way to influence votes in an election without disclosing that the communication is via a bot.

AI is, therefore, an evolving area with many possible opportunities and threats, the largest and perhaps most obvious of which has been highlighted by Elon Musk and others who would like to ensure that AI becomes our harmless problem-solving servant rather than our unstoppable master and enemy.

London Underground To Get 4G Next Year

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that from March 2020, 4G rollout will begin across the London Underground network, thereby allowing customers, for the first time, to check emails and travel information, use social media, and stream music and video uninterrupted.

First Section

The first section of the network to get a trial of full mobile connectivity within station platforms, tunnels, ticket halls and corridors from March 2020 will be the eastern half of the Jubilee line (between Westminster and Canning Town).  This will help to remove one of the most high-profile mobile ‘not-spots’ in the UK, and to fulfil an important ambition of Mayor Khan to improve digital connectivity in public spaces, stations and right across London’s transport network.

Although free Wi-Fi is already offered by TfL within more than 260 Wi-Fi-enabled London Underground stations and on TfL Rail services, the trialling of 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services along this first section will mark the beginning of a push to boost digital connectivity across London and to tackle the city’s main areas of poor connectivity.  TfL also hopes that the trial work on connecting this first section of the Underground will also give TfL and mobile operators valuable experience of delivering mobile connectivity there ahead of awarding a concession to deliver mobile coverage across the whole underground network, starting from summer 2020.

What’s Been The Problem?

One of the main reasons why mobile connectivity in the London Underground network has been challenging is because of the many old and narrow tunnels, which weren’t built to allow space to install mobile connectivity equipment, and have twists that can make it more difficult for signals to pass through them. The fact that there are now 24-hour tube services may also prove to be a challenge to any engineering staff who need access to the tunnels.

Benefits

The benefits of having mobile (4G) connectivity across the London Underground will include potentially boosting the capital’s productivity and improving the experience of those living and working in and visiting London.

Work

It is estimated that the work to provide connections across the London Underground network could involve the use of over 1,200 miles of cabling. It has been reported that the engineers working on the project will work weeknight shifts in order to minimise any disruption to passengers.

What Will This Mean For Your Business?

The London Underground handles an estimated 5 million passenger journeys per day, and the fact that the network has suffered from a lack of connectivity may have come at a huge cost to businesses over the years as workers can’t receive travel updates and suffer frequent delays, and working people have been simply unavailable and essentially cut-off while travelling through one of the world’s leading modern capital cities. The connectivity work, beginning in key areas from March 2020 should improve the productivity of London and of businesses based there, as well as improving the experience of those living and working in London.

For mobile networks, this represents a significant business opportunity as, once the equipment installed, they will be able to pay the private operator for access to that network. TfL will also benefit from adding connectivity infrastructure by receiving a cut of the profits.

Alan Turing To Feature on £50 Note

Alan Turing, head of the Enigma code-breaking team at Bletchley Park in World War 2, mathematician and father of computer science who was driven to suicide over the treatment of his sexuality is finally being honoured by the featuring his image on the new £50 note.

Chosen By Committee

The UK Bank of England’s Banknote Character Advisory Committee advises the Governor on the characters that appear on new banknotes. In December, members of the committee were given summary biographies of 989 dead scientists, put forward by more than 225,000 members of the public, from which one would need to be chosen to feature on the new polymer £50 note when it enters circulation at the end of 2021.  The committee chose Alan Turing.

Mathematician & Scientist

Alan Turing 1912 – 1954, born in born in West London and educated in Frant, East Sussex and Sherborne, Dorset, displayed a natural ability for maths and science.  He is reported to have been able to solve complex and advanced maths problems in 1927 (aged 15) without having studied even elementary calculus, and in 1928 (aged 16) he was able to deduce Einstein’s questioning of Newton’s laws of motion from a text in which this was never made explicit.

Father of Computer Science

After studying at King’s College Cambridge, in 1936 Turing published his paper “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem”, with which Turing proved that his “universal computing machine” could perform any mathematical computation if it were representable as an algorithm. This, plus his work developed at Bletchley Park is why Turing is widely thought of as the father of modern computer science.

WW2 Bletchley Hero

Alan Turing is perhaps best known for heading the codebreaking operation during WW2 at top-secret Bletchley Park, where it is estimated that the incredible breaking of U-boat Enigma codes may have shortened the war in Europe by as many as two to four years, and potentially saved millions of lives.  Part of this work involved creating and building the electromechanical machine called the bombe, which could break Enigma more effectively than the Polish bomba kryptologiczna (from where it got its name).

Conviction, Chemical Castration and Suicide

In 1952, Turing was prosecuted and convicted of “gross indecency” over his relationship with another man. In order to avoid a prison sentence, Turing chose to be chemically castrated through injections of synthetic oestrogen.

Alan Turing committed suicide with cyanide poisoning two years later, aged only 41.

Apology and Pardon

In 2013, Alan Turing was given a posthumous apology and royal pardon for his conviction for gross indecency.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Alan Turing’s incredible mind, aptitude for maths and science, and his work in cracking the Enigma code at Bletchley Park have resulted in millions of lives being saved through the shortening of the war in Europe, and in the rapid evolution of computer science that has fed directly into the digital world and workplace that we know today. Despite being a national hero, how Turing was treated was widely regarded as shameful, and the posthumous pardon and apology, along with being honoured on a banknote have been ways in which the UK has been able, in some small but public ways, to right some the wrongs of the past, honour a truly great scientist, and contribute to a greater understanding and acceptance of sexual differences.

Security Flaw Discovered In NHS Anaesthetic Machines

Cybersecurity firm CyberMDX has reported the discovery of a security flaw in some Internet-connected GE Healthcare anaesthetic machines which could leave them vulnerable to hacks.

Security Flaw

The security flaw has been described as the exposure of the configuration of certain terminal server implementations that extend GE Healthcare anaesthesia device serial ports to TCP/IP networks. This could potentially mean that when the devices are connected to the Internet, they could be remotely targeted by hackers who could modify the parameters of the anaesthesia devices. According to CyberMDX, this could mean that hackers could silence device alarms and even adjust anaesthetic dosages or switch anaesthetic agents.

Johnson & Johnson

The threat discovered in GE Healthcare anaesthetic devices may not sound too unlikely when you consider that back in October a security vulnerability was discovered in one of Johnson & Johnson’s insulin pumps (the Animas OneTouch Ping insulin pump) that a hacker could exploit to overdose diabetic patients with insulin.  Even though the company described the risk as “extremely low”, it still led them to take the precaution of sending letters outlining the problem to 114,000 people, doctors and patients, who used the device in the US and Canada.

Affected Machines

The affected GE Healthcare anaesthetic machines are reported to include Aestiva and Aespire versions 7100 and 7900.  It has been reported that some are used in NHS hospitals.

Suggestions

Some of the suggestions offered by GE in response to reports of the possible vulnerability (which may not be exclusive to just GE machines) are for hospitals/users to use secure terminal servers with strong encryption, and to use a VPN and other features to protect against hacks.

Also, GE suggests that organisations should use industry best practices and secure deployment measures e.g. network segmentation, VLANs and device isolation.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Where any device has an Internet connection e.g. IoT devices, there is now a risk of a possible attack, but the fact that these are medical machines which could lead to serious human consequences if remote hackers were able to tamper with them makes this story all the more alarming.

If, as GE and the US Department of Homeland Security have pointed out, all equipment is correctly isolated wherever possible, unnecessary accounts protocols and services are disabled, and best practice is followed, the risk should be very low indeed.

This story does, however, highlight how all businesses and organisations should take the security of smart/IoT devices seriously, particularly where there could be a clear human risk.