Distinguished Lecture

Hackable Medical Devices: Fact or Fiction?

NEW DATE! 3.30 for 4.00pm, Wednesday 4th March 2015

Lecture Theatre K, Faraday Building (Level 0), Singleton Park

In collaboration with Techealth and Software Alliance Wales

Refreshments available in the foyer from 3.30pm. The event is free and open to all, and followed by a reception.

Registration to attend is required at: www.softwarealliancewales.com/cyber-security


It’s the kind of topic which belongs in an American political thriller, but medical devices have entered the zeitgeist as a new security target, and malicious interference with devices – such as pacemakers and infusion pumps – is a real threat, and one which is gaining a significant amount of global attention of late.

The US Department of Homeland Security are taking the threat very seriously, stating that injury or death as a result from hacking is within the realms of possibility.

In theory it is possible to remotely influence an infusion pump’s dispense rate – transforming a reservoir of insulin into a potential lethal weapon. And so what about implantable medical devices that use wireless communication, such as pacemakers – could these be maliciously hacked to threaten patients' lives?

Speaker's biography

Kevin Fu is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan where he directs the Archimedes Research Center for Medical Device Security and the Security and Privacy Research (SPQR) group. His research investigates how to achieve trustworthy computing on embedded devices with application to health care, commerce, and communication. His participation in the provocative 2008 research paper analyzing the security of a pacemaker/defibrillator led to a watershed moment in cybersecurity for medical device manufacturing and regulatory science.

Prof. Fu received his Ph.D. in EECS from MIT where his doctoral research pertained to secure storage and web authentication. Fu received a Sloan Research Fellowship, NSF CAREER award, Fed100 Award, and best paper awards from various academic silos of computing. The research is featured in critical articles by the NYT, WSJ, and NPR. Kevin was named MIT Technology Review TR35 Innovator of the Year for work on medical device security. Kevin has testified in Congress on health matters and has written commissioned work for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. He served as a visiting scientist at the Food & Drug Administration, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard Medical School, Microsoft Research, and MIT CSAIL. Previous employers include Bellcore, Cisco Systems, HP Labs, and Holland Community Hospital. He is a member of the ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy and the NIST Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board. He is a principal investigator of THaW.org. Prior to joining Michigan, he served on the faculty at UMass Amherst. Kevin also holds a certificate of achievement in artisanal bread making from the French Culinary Institute.

Techealth project

Techealth is part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Impact Acceleration Account awarded to Swansea University.

Techealth covers a range of technology-based interventions in healthcare, helping to improve patient safety through the development of safer, smarter and more dependable medical devices.

Working alongside industry, public sector and regulators, Techealth combines methodical research with thorough testing that considers real-life circumstances, helping to raise the standards of healthcare and achieve better clinical outcomes.