They can hear your heartbeats: Non-invasive security for implantable medical devices

Shyamnath Gollakota, Haitham Hassanieh, Benjamin Ransford, Dina Katabi, Kevin Fu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Wireless communication has become an intrinsic part of modern implantable medical devices (IMDs). Recent work, however, has demonstrated that wireless connectivity can be exploited to compromise the confidentiality of IMDs' transmitted data or to send unauthorized commands to IMDs-even commands that cause the device to deliver an electric shock to the patient. The key challenge in addressing these attacks stems from the difficulty of modifying or replacing already-implanted IMDs. Thus, in this paper, we explore the feasibility of protecting an implantable device from such attacks without modifying the device itself. We present a physicallayer solution that delegates the security of an IMD to a personal base station called the shield. The shield uses a novel radio design that can act as a jammer-cum-receiver. This design allows it to jam the IMD's messages, preventing others from decoding them while being able to decode them itself. It also allows the shield to jam unauthorized commands-even those that try to alter the shield's own transmissions. We implement our design in a software radio and evaluate it with commercial IMDs. We find that it effectively provides confidentiality for private data and protects the IMD from unauthorized commands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2011 Conference, SIGCOMM'11
Pages2-13
Number of pages12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventACM SIGCOMM 2011 Conference, SIGCOMM'11 - Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: Aug 15 2011Aug 19 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM 2011 Conference, SIGCOMM'11

Other

OtherACM SIGCOMM 2011 Conference, SIGCOMM'11
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityToronto, ON
Period8/15/118/19/11

Keywords

  • Full-duplex
  • Implanted medical devices
  • Wireless

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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