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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Are There Medical Devices on the Market That Can Be Hacked? │ Stealth Advertising

This is a photo of my wife Jack that I took in the afternoon of September 8:


I just wanted to post it and have it out of the way.

I suspect that it was a little after midnight when I made it to bed last night after some fool dalliance here at my computer ─ fortunately, my senses were too dulled from the bit of drinking I had done over the latter evening.

My initial block of sleep was unusually long ─ it was 5:44 a.m. when first I checked the time, and then had myself a bathroom break.

There was a snatch or two of sleep thereafter, and I started my day at 7:48 a.m.

It has been a mix of Sun and cloud ─ the Sun has predominated in the afternoon.

I spent more time working on the edit of an old post at my Siam-Longings website than I intended to ─ I believe that it may have been slightly after 11:00 a.m. before I knocked off.

I wanted to make the four-mile round-trip hike to the government liquor store at 108th Avenue & King George Boulevard here in Whalley.

However, before readying to do that, I had to lie down and rest my tortured eyes.

My younger brother Mark had come home earlier from his girlfriend Bev's residence where he had spent the night, and then he left again ahead of noon.

My two step-sons were of course home, the youngest still accompanied by the girlfriend who had spent the night with him.

I probably rested my eyes for maybe 20 minutes, and then surreptitiously got myself ready for the hike, and left here at 12:18 p.m.

I had considered getting in an especially long hike, but I decided against it ─ I just was not into it.  I felt leaden, and my vision was bad.

There was nothing eventful to report, apart from taking notice of how many tents there are sprung up all over Whalley ─ especially along 135-A Street.  The homeless.

I was back home by 1:48 p.m., having taken my time to derive as much benefit from the Sun as possible.  So, the outing was just about exactly 1½ hours.

No one was home ─ and neither was the front door locked.  My two step-sons are about as dense and useless as two brothers can be.

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A cyber-security research company called MedSec ─ who bill themselves as "the leading vulnerability research and security solutions provider for healthcare manufacturers, vendors, and providers" ─ went public last month with a claim that many of St. Jude Medical's medical devices were subject to exploitation by malicious hackers.

St. Jude Medical is a medical device manufacturer ─ not a hospital.

First, though, MedSec had apparently gotten in touch with Muddy Waters ─ an investment management firm ─ and was somehow profiting from their allegations against St. Jude Medical via stock short-selling, and had never contacted St. Jude Medical to alert them to the flaws of their medical device products.
The MedSec investigation into St. Jude Medical’s cardiac devices, which include pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices, concluded that each of the pieces of equipment were vulnerable to attacks that could cause devices to malfunction, drain batteries of life-saving equipment or could put device-dependent users at risk of equipment failure.
That's from here:

Bloomberg

Here's another report about it:


But were the allegations true?

Note these two reports:

The Register


We keep hearing that medical devices are probably the next step that hackers are going to be taking.  I have even read that the field is a ripe harvest just waiting for something like ruthless ransomware.

I guess time will tell.

I hope I never require any kind of implanted device ─ far too much can go wrong.

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Are you familiar with the concept of 'stealth advertising' (or 'stealth marketing')?

Examples are commercials that come across as almost being public service announcements.  No specific products are hyped, but of course the whole point of the scenario being played out is that the viewer is encouraged to ask their physician about an unnamed medication or product designed for coping with whatever was being discussed.

Consumer Reports offers a four-minute video about this sort of advertising:



It's all about avoiding the mention of that vast litany of negative side-effects ─ some of which can actually be horrifying.

There is a pretty good article about this deception that contains four current examples you might have seen on T.V. recently:

STAT

We need to be savvy consumers, and not gullibly let ourselves be conned by these tactics. 

And just because a celebrity of some description that you may admire is involved, do not let yourself get suckered.  Some celebrities make a lot of money schilling for products that they care nothing about ─ it's all about acting and deception.

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Now here to close today's post is a 41-year-old entry from my journal back when I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

The house I was renting the room in was located on Ninth Street at Third Avenue.
THURSDAY, September 18, 1975

I awoke just after 5:30 a.m.

A 8:40 a.m. this sunny day I walked to dad's taking with me tissue paper and 3 eggs.

They weren't feeling their best, but they were sober.

Dad has 3 large scabs on his face.

Apparently they made quite a ruckus sometime this week.

I didn't eat too heavily, and in fact felt very hungry before departing.

Retirement tonight about 9:00 p.m.
My father Hector and his girlfriend Maria Fadden were then living in an apartment in a building that I think may have been at 5870 Sunset Street in Burnaby.

Around this time, I seemed to be visiting them once a week ─ I would walk both there and then back to my room afterwards.  

A destination had to be darned far off before I would use money to ride a bus.

The tissue paper would have been culls or samples that my mother Irene Dorosh had supplied me with ─ she worked as an evening office janitress at Scott Paper (now Kruger Inc.) in New Westminster.

Often, she would have to throw out great quantities of toilet paper rolls ─ or find them already in the garbage bin.

I'm not sure about the eggs.  Three?  

My mother had laying chickens, so it is possible that I meant three dozen, although I can't quite imagine having so many on hand that I would have been taking three dozen to my father. 

He and Maria were binge-drinking alcoholics, and I could never be sure just what I was in for when I went to visit.

I miss him now, though.

When October 19 arrives next month, I will be exactly five years older than my father ever got to be.
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