Tag Archives: thursday

FDA urges protection of medical devices from cyber threats

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday urged medical device makers and medical facilities to upgrade security protections to protect against potential cyber threats that could compromise the devices or patient privacy. It released that advisory in coordination with a separate alert from the Department of Homeland Security, which disclosed vulnerability in a wide variety of medical equipment that can make those devices vulnerable to remote attacks from hackers. “Over the past year, we've become increasingly aware of cyber security vulnerabilities in incidents that have been reported to us,” William Maisel, deputy director for science at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an interview. “Hundreds of medical devices have been affected, involving dozens of manufacturers,” Maisel said, adding that many were infected by malicious software, or malware. But he said all the infections appeared to be unintentional, largely due to malware and computer viruses that were circulating in hospital computer networks and jumped onto the devices. An alert published on the government's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team website, cited research from Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle of the cyber security firm Cylance Inc, who said they have identified more than 300 pieces of medical equipment that are vulnerable to cyber attack. They include surgical and anesthesia devices, ventilators, drug infusion pumps, patient monitors and external defibrillators. The problem with the equipment is that it can be controlled using default passwords that can be obtained with relative ease by motivated hackers, Rios said in an interview. Those passwords give their holders complete control of the devices and in some cases can be used to gain that access remotely via the Internet, he said. “Somebody could take over the device and make it do whatever they want it to do and it would be almost impossible for hospital staff to know that it had been tampered with,” Rios said. Rios and McCorkle are among a group of security experts who in recent years have suggested that medical devices such as insulin pumps and pacemakers could be vulnerable to hacking. The FDA on Thursday said it is not aware of any patient injuries or deaths associated with devices and hospital computer networks that have been infected with malware and computer viruses. In an advisory on its website, however, the FDA said manufacturers, hospitals and patients need to protect themselves better from the introduction of malware in medical equipment and unauthorized access to settings that control devices. “Many medical devices contain configurable embedded computer systems that can be vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches,” the agency said. The risk of breaches has grown as devices have become increasingly interconnected, via the Internet, hospital networks, other medical devices and smartphones, the FDA said. “Specifically we recommend that manufacturers review their cybersecurity practices and policies to assure that appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent unauthorized access or modification to their medical devices or compromise of the security of the hospital network that may be connected to the device,” the agency said. Among its recommendations, the FDA said manufacturers need to take steps to limit unauthorized device access to trusted users only, particularly for devices that are “life sustaining” or could be directly connected to hospital networks. User IDs, passwords and other security controls need to be strengthened, including potential use of biometrics, the agency said. Moreover, manufacturers need to assure that devices recover and continue to work once security has been compromised. “Cybersecurity incidents are increasingly likely,” the FDA said, “and manufacturers should consider incident response plans that address the possibility of degraded operation and efficient restoration and recovery.” The FDA also urged health care facilities to evaluate their network security, including restricting unauthorized access to the network and networked devices.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/14/fda-urges-protection-medical-devices-from-cyber-threats/

Woman attempting to live on nothing but water and sunlight for 6 months

A Seattle woman is attempting to live without food for six months -- planning to sustain herself on water and sunlight alone. Navenna Shine is calling her experiment “Living on Light.” “This is a paradigm for living in which we as human beings do not have to ingest any kind of food whatsoever into our stomachs in order to thrive,” Shine said. Shine, 65, says her experiment is an attempt to follow an obscure group of yogis called The Breatharians, who for thousands of years have claimed they have the ability to live on light alone. “At 'Living On Light' we propose that we have a nutritional source already embedded within our body/mind/spiritual systems that can give us exactly what we need to be healthy and well,” Shine wrote on her website. “Since we do not yet know exactly what that source is I am symbolically calling it Light.” Thursday marked Shine’s 33rd day without food, although she has lost more than 20 pounds. In order to verify that she is indeed sticking to the diet, Shine has placed several cameras throughout her house to keep a record of the experiment.  She also hopes to begin live-streaming her experience within the next few weeks. Click for more from My Fox 8. To follow Shine's updates, visit her Facebook page.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/07/woman-attempting-to-live-on-nothing-but-water-and-sunlight-for-6-months/

Shuttered New Mexico plant resumes making peanut butter

The eastern New Mexico peanut butter plant shuttered eight months ago after a salmonella outbreak is back in production, and company officials say their coveted natural and organic butters could be back on store shelves within a month. Sunland Inc. Vice President Katalin Coburn says the company last week got the go-ahead from the Food and Drug Administration to restart peanut butter operations at its factory in Portales. It is currently in a test phase of production, she said. “The restart of the plant is not as simple as turning on a switch,” Coburn said Thursday. “Hopefully we will be back in full production in the next few days.” The Food and Drug Administration shut the plant in late September after its products were linked to 41 cases in 20 states. Most of those were linked to natural peanut butter the company made for Trader Joe's. The shutdown of the country's largest organic peanut butter processor left many stores scrambling for months to find alternative natural peanut butters. The company processes Valencia peanuts, a sweet variety of peanut that is unique to the region and preferred for natural butters because it is flavorful without additives. It makes peanut butter under a number of different labels for retailers like Costco, Kroger and Trader Joe's. It also makes nut butter products under its own name. When the FDA shuttered the plant, it was the first time it used new authority granted under a 2011 food safety law to shut food operations without a court hearing. Many in the conservative farm town of Portales denounced the FDA's tactics as unfair and unnecessarily heavy-handed. Coburn said consumers and retail partners alike have been supportive throughout the shutdown. “Obviously they were as frustrated as we were with the length of time,” she said. “They were saying, `We want Valencia. We want you guys. We want organic. So hurry up.'”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/24/shuttered-new-mexico-plant-resumes-making-peanut-butter/