May 17, 2020

Virtual Reality is preparing to make a big impact in healthcare

Virtual reality
augmented reality
Georgia Allen
2 min
Virtual Reality is preparing to make a big impact in healthcare
Virtual Reality has already made big leaps in the past few years, with Oculus Rift at the forefront of the nextgeneration of computer technology. Howeve...

Virtual Reality has already made big leaps in the past few years, with Oculus Rift at the forefront of the next generation of computer technology. However, it is now preparing to make its arrival in the healthcare industry, with doctors already live-streaming surgeries for students to watch, emmersed in the operating theatre and offering them a new perspective. 

The Miami Children's Hospital is developing instructional software making use of VR technology to teach basic proceedures such as inserting an IV drip, to both the patients and the doctors, which can alleviate concerns on either side.

The technology has also been used to treat phobias, as well as being developed by Embodied Labs for healthcare training. The software enables students to live life through the eyes of an elderly man who has visual and audiological problems, meaning that they are more aware of just what life is like for their patients. 

Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg even stated that "consulting with a doctor face-to-face just by putting on goggles in your home" was one of the reasons why he acquired Oculus VR, which could bring a new wave of optimism across the healthcare sector and could be used to reduce waiting times and appointment cancellations, as well as reducing pressure on staff.

Whilst the future is indeed bright for VR in healthcare, it has already been used with proven results in rehabilitation for stroke victims, as well as helping military veterans to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder. Gaming is certainly at the forefront of the VR revolution, but healthcare is an industry that could be far more valuable and have life-changing benefits, one which Zuckerberg is likely to explore and expand upon.


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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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