Hospitals testing AC monitoring platform to spot malware in medical devices

Two unnamed hospitals have signed on to test technology that can detect malware in outdated medical devices by monitoring by alternating current (AC) consumption.

If successful, the monitoring platform, created by PhDs Denis Kuen and Benjamin Ransford and dubbed WattsUpDoc, could help hospitals overcome what has been a significant challenge--protecting medical devices that are antiquated or can't be modified due to regulatory constraints. If successful, the add-on platform will allow hospitals to detect malware using power consumption side channel analysis without modifying code or hardware, according to The Register.

The platform so far has detected known malware with at least 94 percent accuracy and unknown malware with at least 85 percent accuracy in tests.

Kune and Ransford admit their system could be compromised to spy on machines if someone switched a power socket with one that uses the WattsUpDoc monitoring kit.

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