May 17, 2020

'Liking' social media in the healthcare sector

Social Media
2 min
The use of social media in healthcare is growing
Written by: Damian Eade,Director at global marketing research agency InsightResearch Group It would be naïve to think that doctors are immune from...

Written by: Damian EadeDirector at global marketing research agency InsightResearch Group

It would be naïve to think that doctors are immune from the explosion of the internet and the digital revolution. Our recent research into the internet habits of GPs across Europe told us that 94 percent of doctors regularly use the internet and 97 percent of those regularly do so for ‘work or professional purposes’. The average person in the UK spends about five and a half hours a week online, however, according to our survey doctors are online for about nine hours each week for their work alone. It is also pretty clear that when it comes to technology, doctors are likely to be the early adopters and the more tech-savvy ones amongst us.

Doctors have certainly adopted social media tools too in both their personal and professional lives. Insight’s research showed that 69 percent of GPs use social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Wikipedia for professional use.

Of those websites used professionally, 60 percent of doctors use Wikipedia and 18 percent use YouTube. Facebook was the next most popular with 6 percent, followed by LinkedIn with 5 percent and Twitter with 1 percent. Surprisingly, when it comes to Wikipedia it is the older doctors who use it the most, with 62 percent of those aged 51 and over using the site for professional purposes versus only 57 percent of those aged 21-50.

In terms of dealing with patients, more and more doctors are recommending specific websites for their patients to visit following a consultation. Of the 50 percent of doctors who are recommending sites, 87 percent are doing so for further background on their condition, 70 percent for additional support and 69 percent are doing so for more information regarding treatment and medication.

With a third of GPs now using the ‘internet on the move’ and one in 10 already owning a tablet computer such as an iPad, the use of social media among doctors looks set to increase. There are undoubted advantages for doctors in using social media professionally as both an information source and a communication tool. Doctors are obviously seeing the value in it, but what exactly is that value? Are there ways in which, as an industry, we can add similar levels of value to the way doctors are now practising medicine? If so, it will be important for us to better understand the true value offered by such sites over and above professional resources in order to see how the healthcare industry can provide similar utility.

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Jun 17, 2021

Peloton vulnerable to cyber attacks, McAfee research finds

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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