Will smartphones become the next murder weapon?

Will smartphones become the next murder weapon?
It is not a farfetched notion – hackers with smartphones able to manipulate medical devices that people may depend on for their very lives.

This past October, an obscure presentation was given by a researcher for a Seattle-based computer security firm, IOActive, outlining how implanted devices, such as pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) may one day be exploited. The presentation was given by a man named Barnaby Jack. His job is to find security weakness.

Last year, he demonstrated how he could wirelessly connect to an implantable insulin pump and direct it to release a lethal dose of insulin. A year prior, he hacked into an ATM and made it regurgitate bills as if you won the jackpot.

Now, medical devices are entering the world of apps. From prosthetic limbs, to all manner of implantable devices, companies are developing apps to help patients and their doctors monitor all sorts of medical telemetry. The benefits are obvious as it would also provide a shortened response time if something goes wrong. With the convenience of being able to manage such devices through intuitive and simple interfaces on a smartphone, there is also a grave risk.

Like any app or smartphone, and by extension, smart-medical device, there is eventually a connection to the internet. Like every connection to the internet there is a perceived risk. When asked if he thought if anyone might really try to screw around with other people’s medical devices, Barnaby responded, “Has there ever been a box connected to the internet that people haven’t tried to break into?” That pretty much sums it up.

While he does not want to make exact predictions, Barnaby makes it pretty clear that people will not embrace new technology if it turns out to be open season for those with dubious motives. The scope of possibility is not limited to medical devices. Automobiles have over 100 different types of computers in them.

Chief Technical Officer of McAfee, Stuart McClure, points out that medical devices are engineered for safety, not security. The reality is, “we live in a reactive society and something bad has to happen before we take problems seriously,” says McClure. What is even less comforting is that it will take more than one unfortunate soul before people start to pay attention.

Today, for all intents and purposes, it is not practical, and therefore it is somewhat remote that there is any high-threat level. However, technology always gets easier to use over time, and that means consumers, patients, doctors and developers will have to approach most products with a bit of diligence on the IT security side of the house. In 10 years, the landscape will have changed enough where just about everything will be wirelessly connected to something for some reason.

source: Vanity Fair

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41 Comments

1. Omar-BHR95

Posts: 184; Member since: Dec 23, 2012

The Nokia 3310 is a weapon and its the father of all smartphones used as weapon. POSTED FROM MY AMAZING NOKIA LUMIA 920

3. Omar-BHR95

Posts: 184; Member since: Dec 23, 2012

hacking wise definitely yes

6. Omar-BHR95

Posts: 184; Member since: Dec 23, 2012

why the dislikes did i say anything wrong ??!!! D:

23. Droiddoes unregistered

Grumpy ass apple nerds would be my guess. Pissed that they don't have any "new" apple novelties to look forward to opening tomorrow morning.

31. maxis3G unregistered

boring....... next story please..

2. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

For that reason (risk of hacking), I doubt there will be a market in the U.S. for Internet appliances where medical devices are concerned. There is just too much liability for the manufacturers.

4. anshul0000 unregistered

die hard 4.0?

5. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Drop a bunch of nokia 3310 from 40km.... APOCALYPSE!!!!

8. smallworld

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

Fact: Jokes about the 3310 have stopped being funny 4 years ago.

16. Insignificant

Posts: 192; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

They'll stop being funny when it stops being strong. This statement shows that I believe 3310 jokes will be funny until the end of the world.

25. Droiddoes unregistered

Fact: you smell.

10. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

It has already become a weapon... You call a sim-triggered bomb and kaboom goes the world. Not just a smart phone...every mobile phone.

11. harsh_doshi

Posts: 36; Member since: Aug 27, 2012

just drop an iPhone in front of iDiehardfans and ull see them die(seeing it shattered into pieces)....yup ill call tht murder..

18. tidus28

Posts: 26; Member since: Feb 08, 2012

just a small drop and a galaxy 3 breaks even the iphone 4 wich is made of glass front and back is more durable then they galaxy

20. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Let me guess. You own an iPhone. I'm not going to try to reason with this logic of yours.

26. tidus28

Posts: 26; Member since: Feb 08, 2012

np i own a lumia 920 im a phone salesman and i get so many guest come back to me with a broken phone screen on there galaxy

27. Droiddoes unregistered

Funny, I dropped mine a couple times onto my hardwood floors before I had a bumper and it didn't have a mark. My wife's friend dropped her iphone on the same floor and that b*tch shattered like an old mans hip.

29. tidus28

Posts: 26; Member since: Feb 08, 2012

so they made one good screen and she just had bad luck

21. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Jesus is my weapon.

32. SleepingOz unregistered

Powerful weapon indeed! He's the son of the biggest mass murderer ever. Oh wait, he's his own father then he, himself, is the biggest mass murderer.

34. bstepchin

Posts: 20; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

You sir are an idiot. How can you sit there and speak of such blasphemy? It is disgraceful. At least have the decency and respect to shut up and keep your own stupidity to yourself, as there are others for whom God is sacred. And you have no idea what you're talking about; Jesus is not his own father. So before you go and brazenly open your mouth before thinking, do yourself a favor and grow up.

37. SleepingOz unregistered

Haha butthurt christian! XD Then WHAT is jesus? Don't adore it as god? But wait, it's written in the bible that there's only one god. Go back to it dude and read it all! Your god is described as a MASS MURDERER! That's not my opinion, it's what's written in your "not so" holy bible. I didn't have to open my mouth to type, so actually, you're the idiot here.

40. bstepchin

Posts: 20; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

Again, you have no idea what you're talking about. There are three individual beings that make one God; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, if God was a mass murderer, then why would he send his only begotten Son, who was innocent and blameless, to die for our sins? So please, before you begin arguing about the content of the Bible, at least read it first. Finally, you can think whatever you like, but at least have the respect for others and not spread your hate for God everywhere you go; this is a forum about phones, not religious opinions. Oh, and I am receiving my Doctorate in Pharmacy on May 2nd, so I'd rethink your last comment.

22. Nikolas.Oliver

Posts: 1574; Member since: Jul 01, 2012

Only chuck norris could scratch nokia 3310

30. SonyXperiaNexus

Posts: 374; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

they already have .. apple has killed many with apple maps already.

38. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

wow people have no sencse of humour these days

41. Rayvelynn

Posts: 124; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

One things for sure anything can be used as a weapon. I mean you can't ban CRAZY! lol

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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