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Hacking your way to secure IoT-connected medical devices

27 Nov 2015  | Suzanne Deffree

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The FDA, for example, is equipped to look at how medicines affect the body, but it does not have the staffing or expertise to make those security calls. Is this software secure enough to deliver medicine to a person? It goes back to that sub-speciality area. The FDA does not have the staffing to do so, nor does it have the authority to do so.

The FDA can't just decide to regulate something on its own. It can only do what Congress allows it to do. The FDA is very much aware that there are a lot more computers involved in our medical care now, but there's the question of if they have the ability to regulate, which is why you see them give guidance statements not regulations. I think [the FDA] is doing everything that it can to try to get medical device manufacturers and the medical community up to speed on some issues and incorporating independent research, but it has to stay within the bounds of what it can do legally.

One last question. I've heard you have a ham radio licence. Is that true?

I've had a ham radio licence since I was 12. It's kind of one of the things that is the philosophy of being a hacker. Ham radio has a long history of taking scraps of things and making something out of it, and understanding the deep workings of a radio and electronics. A lot of the Internet technology that we use is stuff that was used in ham radio back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. It's very much a frontier for what will come in the future from electronics and technical masses. I think that's still true today.

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