David Kotz

Safeguarding Medical Information in Cyberspace (VPR)

Private medical records have moved from filing cabinets to cyberspace, raising concerns about the privacy and security of personal health and medical information systems found in mobile devices or cloud-based services, notes VPR.

As the story points out, research led by Dartmouth’s David Kotz, associate dean of the faculty for the sciences and the Champion International Professor in the Department of Computer Science, will look for ways to safeguard health and medical records.

“Now with these mobile technologies, people can use these computing devices pretty much anywhere, so that means that we are collecting information from more parts of your life, from more places in your life than you might have been comfortable having collected,” Kotz tells VPR. “So it raises a whole lot of privacy issues that we would certainly like to ameliorate.”

The research is funded by a $10-million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, VPR reports.

Listen to the full story, broadcast 8/23/13 on VPR.

Dartmouth-Led Team Receives NSF Health Care Cybersecurity Grant

Joseph Blumberg

Dartmouth has been awarded a $10-million, five-year grant from the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support research into ways of safeguarding  the confidentiality of personal health and medical information as these records make the transition from paper files to electronic systems.

David Kotz, Dartmouth’s associate dean of the faculty for the sciences and the Champion International Professor in the Department of Computer Science, will lead an interdisciplinary and multi-institution project team which includes experts in computer science, business, behavioral health, health policy, and health care information technology.

“This project tackles many of the fundamental computer science research challenges to providing trustworthy information systems for health and wellness, as sensitive information and health-related tasks are increasingly pushed into mobile devices and cloud-based services,” Kotz says.

Dartmouth Research Imparts Momentum to Mobile Health

Joseph Blumberg

Bracelets and amulets are in the works at Dartmouth’s Institute for Security, Technology, and Society. Rather than items of mere adornment, the scientists and engineers are constructing personal mobile health (mHealth) devices—highly functional jewelry, as it were. mHealth is a rapidly growing field where technology helps you or your physician monitor your health through mobile devices. This approach can offer more accurate and timely diagnoses as well as lower health costs. However, smartphones are often used to transmit collected medical information, and these transmissions are vulnerable to hacking.

Devices Use Biometrics to Prevent Hack Attacks (ARS Technica, Popular Science)

Dartmouth researchers are developing a wearable electronic device that uses a person’s unique physiological responses to protect his or her own medical devices, such as pacemakers, against being tampered with by malicious hackers, reports ARS Technica.

The proposed wearable instrument, worn like a watch, could identify the person who is wearing it and create a protective encryption system for the healthcare devices to which it is linked. ARS Technica points to a statement the authors made in their research explaining the capabilities of the new instrument. “Without any other action on the part of the users, the devices discover each other’s presence, recognize that they are on the same body, develop shared secrets from which to derive encryption keys, and establish reliable and secure communications.”