O2 launches mobile health service 'Help at Hand'
Help at Hand, a new mobile healthcare service which has been developed by the health arm of mobile network O2, has been launched in Britain today.
The service is thought to be the first mobile telecare solution in the UK and is also one of the first of such launches by a commercial company.
Help at Hand has been designed to expand telecare support beyond the boundaries of the home, giving people with long-term conditions the confidence to leave the confines of their primary care environment.
O2 Health will make the Help at Hand service available to patients next month, which will offered through UK health and social care organisations.
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Patients will be given a small mobile device to carry with them – either a pendant or wristwatch – which is linked to an alarm receiving centre which is operated by trained staff 24/7, 365 days a year.
The Help at Hand devices also features GPS tracking capabilities to monitor the patient’s location, as well as a sensor which detects when someone has fallen down.
O2 Health worked with Telefonica’s Health Research & Development team in Granada to develop the Help at Hand technology.
“The health and social care landscape in the UK is changing rapidly – more people require long term care, resources are under pressure, patients are demanding more choice – providers are being asked to do a lot more with a lot less,” comments Keith Nurcombe, O2 Health’s Managing Director.
“We believe there is huge potential for technology to help – in terms of giving patients more independence as well as reducing the cost and resources required for building-based care.”
“For many groups of patients now being considered for telecare services, being confined to their homes is no longer acceptable,” Nurcombe continued.
“They want to be able to go about their daily lives with the reassurance that help is quickly available should they need it.
“Mobile technology is a natural fit – this is where we have identified a need and developed Help at Hand to meet it."
Mobile healthcare is an area in which huge growth is expected in the coming years, with some studies suggesting the market will be worth $23 billion by the year 2017.
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Peloton vulnerable to cyber attacks, McAfee research finds
Peloton, the popular exercise bikes, were found to be vulnerable to cyber attacks according to the latest research from McAfee.
For those still unfamiliar with Peloton, it is a brand of electric bikes that combines high end exercise equipment with cutting-edge technology. Its products use a wi fi connection 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.
“Behind the scenes is a standard Android tablet, and this hi-tech approach to the exercise bikes has not gone unnoticed. Viral marketing mishaps aside, Peloton has garnered attention recently regarding surrounding the privacy and security of its products. So McAfee decided to take a look for themselves and purchased a Peloton Bike+.
Researchers looked at 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 remote access to the bike’s tablet, including the camera, microphone and personal data.
To the user there would be no indication the Bike+ has been tampered with, potentially putting Peloton’s 16.7 million users at risk of being hacked.
The flaw was found in the Android Verified Boot (AVB) process, leaving Peloton open to attackers.
They were able to bypass the Android Verified Boot process, which normally verifies all code and data within the system before booting. Researchers were able to get the device to boot bypassing this step.
This can lead to an 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 any access they achieved 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.
Given the simplicity and criticality of the flaw, McAfee informed Peloton even as auditing was ongoing. The vendor was sent full details, and shortly after, Peloton confirmed the issue and subsequently released a fix for it.
The patched image no longer allows for the “boot” command to work on a user build, mitigating this vulnerability entirely. Further conversations between McAfee and Peloton confirmed that this vulnerability is also 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.”