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A couple of days ago, he forwarded a link to a paper that described how to hack wireless pacemakers. The paper, titled "Pacemakers and Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators: Software Radio Attacks and Zero-Power Defenses," describes how researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst first reverse engineered the protocols used to communicate with the pacemakers. They describe in detail how they used a software-defined radio to figure out the protocols.
Once they figured out how to communicate with the pacemakers, they devised a series of attacks and successfully pulled off a few of them. For example, they were able to disable a pacemakers "therapies," or actions the pacemaker is programmed to take in response to cardiac events. This attack basically disabled the pacemaker.
The paper concludes by suggesting several different ways to improve pacemaker security. If you currently have a pacemaker that is programmed with a wireless interface, you may want to take a look at this paper. Even if you don't, it's an interesting read.
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"WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? The FCC's data showing fewer than 5000 BPL customers — a number that dropped in the six-month period covered by the report — are taken from forms that service providers are required to submit. Why does the NTIA not regard this figure as reliable? The only way that it "appears low" is by comparison with the excessive industry and government hype.
Further distorting the picture, at the bottom of page 26 is an out-of-date map taken directly from the United Power Line Council (UPLC), an industry source with a vested interest in BPL. It purports to show BPL deployments "updated as of July 10, 2007." However, a number of those shown had already been decommissioned by that date and others have been taken out of service since then.
I have followed the ups and downs of the BPL industry very closely for more than five years. There are very few commercial deployments of BPL, and examination of the FCC data state by state shows all of the significant ones are included. The idea that there could be another 195,000 customers out there, happily connected to the Internet by BPL — yet unreported by their service providers — is utterly ludicrous.
Even more absurd is the NTIA's citation of the "forecast" of about 400,000 customers by the end of 2007, drawn from a year-old Web promotion for a $3000 "industry report."
It is indefensible that the NTIA chose to include in its report unsubstantiated industry estimates and forecasts that inflate the FCC-documented figure for BPL subscribership by 3900 percent to 7900 percent. If the agency wishes to retain a shred of credibility, it will issue a corrected report with the UPLC map, the TIA estimate and the unsupported forecasts deleted.
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