May 17, 2020

Amazon is working with AARP to develop new tools for ageing populations

Technology
USA
healthcare
healthcare
Catherine Sturman
2 min
Getty Images - group photo
At present, there are over 960mn people worldwide who are over 60. By 2050, this number will have soared to 2bn, where approximately 400mn will be over...

At present, there are over 960mn people worldwide who are over 60. By 2050, this number will have soared to 2bn, where approximately 400mn will be over 80 years of age.

It is therefore no surprise that Amazon is looking to develop new digital tools and solutions and tap into this rapidly growing market.

CNBC has reported that Amazon’s health team has been working with the US non-profit organisation AARP to look at new tools and solutions which will attract older generations and support them with everyday tasks.

Whilst the baby boomer generation is set to reach retirement, this particular group have embraced digital tools and are increasingly tech savvy and are already utilising technology on a daily basis. This area of the market will therefore increasingly favour bespoke, digital tools which can support them as they age. By gaining the support of this market, technology companies will also seek to remain competitive in what is becoming an area of increased interest of many.

Amazon’s launch of voice technology, Alexa, has been particularly popular with older generations. For many who live alone, it provides company and is able to answer basic questions. The technology has been implemented in a number of healthcare initiatives, where it will continue to be an essential tool in supporting the needs of such a growing population.

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Amazon’s Vice President of Special Projects, Babak Parviz, recently revealed the company’s interest in developing tools for ageing populations and has claimed that it is something Amazon “deeply cares about.”

"We have looked at the older population in the context of health... and we know this group has a lot of issues and unmet needs," he said.

With homecare options increasingly favoured over traditional nursing and residential placements, it is no surprise that technology is playing a significant role in revolutionising the healthcare space and enabling greater independence, choice and flexibility. It is thought that the technology will become further enhanced and provide vital assistance within medication management, amongst many other advantages.

The company has also recently appointed the FDA’s first Chief Health Informatics Officer, Taha Kass-Hout to work alongside Parviz within its healthcare operations., highlighting that developing new tools in healthcare will be an area of increased focus for Amazon.

Its partnership with the AARP will therefore enable Amazon will learn what features will appeal most to this market and provide essential solutions to cater to this demand.

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Jun 17, 2021

Peloton vulnerable to cyber attacks, McAfee research finds

cyberattack
fitness
Cybersecurity
verification
2 min
​​​​​​​Software security experts McAfee discovered exercise bikes by Peloton are vulnerable to cyber attacks, which the company have since resolved 

Peloton, the popular exercise bikes, were found to be vulnerable to cyber attacks in the latest research from McAfee. 

Peloton is a brand of electric bikes that combines high end exercise equipment with cutting-edge technology. Its products use wi fi to connect to a large tablet that interfaces with the components of the exercise device, and provides an easy way for physical activity enthusiasts to attend virtual workout classes over the internet several times a week.

Peloton has garnered attention recently around the privacy and security of its products. So McAfee decided to take a look for themselves and purchased a Peloton Bike+.

The problem

Researchers looked at the Android devices and uncovered a vulnerability  that could allow an attacker with either physical access to the Bike+ or access during any point in the supply chain to gain to hack into the bike’s tablet, including the camera, microphone and personal data. 

For the person using it there would be no indication the Bike+ has been tampered with, potentially putting Peloton’s 16.7 million users at risk.  

The flaw was found in the Android Verified Boot (AVB) process. McAfee researchers were able to bypass the Android Verified Boot process, which normally verifies all code and data before booting. They were then able to get the device to boot bypassing this step. 

This could potentially lead to the Android OS being compromised by an attacker who is physically present. Even worse, the attacker could boot up the Peloton with a modified credential to gain privileges, granting them access to the bike remotely. 

As the attacker never has to unlock the device to boot it up, there would be no trace of their access on the device. This type of attack could also happen at any point from construction to warehouse to delivery, by installing a backdoor into the Android tablet without the user ever knowing. 

The solution

Given the simplicity and criticality of the flaw, McAfee informed Peloton while auditing was ongoing. The vendor was sent full details,  and shortly after, Peloton confirmed the issue and released a fix for it. 

Further conversations between McAfee and  Peloton confirmed that this vulnerability had also been present on the Peloton Tread exercise equipment. 

Peloton’s Head of Global Information Security Adrian Stone, commented on the research: “This vulnerability reported by McAfee would require direct, physical access to a Peloton Bike+ or Tread. Like with any connected device in the home, if an attacker is able to gain physical access to it, additional physical controls and safeguards become increasingly important.

"To keep our members safe, we acted quickly and in coordination with McAfee. We pushed a mandatory update in early June and every device with the update installed is protected from this issue.”

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