Adding security to implantable medical devices: Can we afford it?

Muhammad Ali Siddiqi, Angeliki Agathi Tsintzira, Georgios Digkas, Miltiadis Siavvas, Christos Strydis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Implantable Medical Devices (IMDs) belong to a class of highly life-critical, resource-constrained, deeply embedded systems out there. Their gradual conversion to wirelessly accessible devices in recent years has made them amenable to numerous successful ethical-hacking attempts. These attacks were made possible due to the absence of proper security provisions in IMDs. IMD manufacturers have only very recently started taking cybersecurity threats seriously, a move that will force development teams to overhaul IMD designs and grow sharper reflexes in an industry that has historically opted for small, careful steps. Thus, valid concerns arise regarding the technical feasibility but, chiefly, the economic viability of adding security to IMDs. In this work, we assess the economic repercussions of securing IMDs by employing the concept of technical debt (TD) on the evolving IMD software. Our quantitative analysis reveals that security-related costs are currently well in hand, however, security-code TD amasses faster and will eventually overtake medical-code TD. The economic viability of IMDs will, thus, be ensured only if security-development efforts are allocated significant resources within the next decade.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks, EWSN 2021
EditorsPolly Huang, Marco Zuniga
PublisherJunction Publishing
ISBN (Print)9780994988652
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks, EWSN 2021 - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 17 Feb 202119 Feb 2021

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks
ISSN (Electronic)2562-2331

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks, EWSN 2021
Country/TerritoryNetherlands
CityDelft
Period17/02/2119/02/21

Keywords

  • Embedded software
  • IMD
  • Implantable medical device
  • Security
  • Technical debt

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