With all the hubbub surrounding medical insurance reform, town hall meetings, and other
distractions events it’s worthwhile looking at some of the technical medical devices coming into the marketplace to be placed in patients’ homes, connected to their broadband internet connection.
Of several products in the patient home monitoring space, the Intel Health Guide PHS 6000 is perhaps one of the better positioned to garner marketshare because of several factors: including the size of Intel, on-going placement of the PHS 6000 in settings, and FDA approval in July, 2008.
Of the many PHS 6000 features, the device also supports two-way video conferencing between patient and caregiver. As this communication takes place over the broadband connection, it’s reasonable to assume that some sort of VoIP software is in place. Of course, details at this point are thin, and it’s even hard to get a real handle on what the PHS 6000 operating system really is, with some reports indicating Microsoft Windows XP, and others indicating a embedded Linux derivative. Still, it looks like there is a VoIP stack, and it’s likely SIP-based.
Clearly, the importance of the security of devices like the Intel PHS 6000 is apparent. And with the growing interest and funding towards cost-reduction and tele-health, we can expect to see these types of devices deployed widely. But what of the security posture? Sure, there’s boasting of encryption for the connection, but features like SSL mean little in the face of real attacks and vulnerabilities — think SSL encryption downgrade attacks, spoofing and man-in-the-middle vectors to start.
To get the word out, I’ve started a LinkedIn group called MedSec to get together like-minded, talented security people with an interest in medical device security. I’ve been chumming the waters with this approach in the hopes that the right people with the right connections conduct proper security evaluations of this PHS 6000 device, and it’s back-end management system as well. Of course, if approached, I’m interested in some hand’s on time too 🙂