Telemedicine Consultations and Wearable Tech Sales to Escalate in 2015
The number of doctor-patient video consultations in the United States will almost triple over the next year, according to research from Parks Associates. The firm expects the number of patients contacting a physician remotely by video to triple from 5.7 million in 2014 to more than 16 million next year.
“The connected health markets are experiencing tremendous growth both in end-user connected devices and on the institutional side,” said Harry Wang, director of Health & Mobile Product Research in an issued release.
According to Parks, approximately 42 percent of households in the U.S. with broadband services had used at least one online service offered to them by their physicians. The most common use being online prescription refills.
Nearly 30 percent of said households also owned and used at least one connected health device.
The number of connected digital trackers sold worldwide will also double again in 2014 and top 22 million, according to Parks. The number sold in 2012 was 6.6 million and 13.6 million last year.
“Connected trackers will account for 52 percent of all digital fitness tracker unit sales in 2014 and reach 81 percent by 2018 (66 million units),” Wang said in a statement. “Smart watches are another wearables category poised for tremendous growth, with sales of almost 18 million units worldwide in 2014 and 121 million in 2018. These connected devices open new avenues for new fitness apps, health solutions and data analytics.”
Based on a survey of 10,000 households in the U.S. with broadband services during the first quarter of 2014, Parks predicted that only 2 percent of such households had bought a smart watch in 2013 and another 4 percent are likely to buy one over the course of the next 12 months.
Within that group of buyers, 20 percent bought their smart watch directly from the maker, 18 percent from Amazon and 17 percent from Best Buy. Almost half had received a smart watch as a gift.
Peloton vulnerable to cyber attacks, McAfee research finds
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+.
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.
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.”