Hardly a week goes by without news of some new bionic enhancement being developed, whether it’s legs, eye, arm or even butt. Heck, the editors at PopSci even put together a nice compendium of all the advancements last year. Like it or not, we’re inexorably marching toward a bionic future; most such technology is being developed to aid people who have lost such limbs and body parts, but there will doubtlessly be people who want the upgrades voluntarily.
Leave it to presenters at DefCon, the annual hacker convention in Las Vegas, to discuss the potential downside of such bio-technological modification and integration: security. As in, what happens when your spiffy new bionic arm gets hacked? Could it be used by some hacker to remotely flip people the bird?
Christian “Quaddi” Dameff and Jeff “R3plicant” Tully, third-year medical students, gave just such a presentation at this year’s event, and told Network World that regulators and the medical world are just not prepared for what is going to be a quick bionicification.
“The FDA is overloaded and influenced by legislation. Yet the attack surfaces are exploding and will continue to explode,” Quaddi said. “There will be people walking around with a zero-day in a terminal application which means a person could die due to poor security.”
Think it’s unlikely? Well, given that hackers have had no trouble interfering with pace makers… it’s more than likely, it’s probable.
So if you’re thinking about getting that new bionic eye that you had your… er… eye on, better make sure it’s got a firewall and some good anti-virus software included.