Digital ‘magic wand’ for healthcare, cyber-security

Researchers have developed a digital “magic wand” hardware device to improve home healthcare and prevent hackers from stealing your personal data.

Wireless and mobile health technologies have great potential to improve access to care, reduce costs and improve health, said one of the researchers David Kotz, professor of computer science at Dartmouth College in the U.S.

“But these new technologies, whether in the form of software for smartphones or specialised devices to be worn, carried or applied as needed, also pose risks if they’re not designed or configured with security and privacy in mind,” Mr. Kotz said.

One of the main challenges is that most people do not know how to set up and maintain a secure network in their home, which can lead to compromised or stolen data or potentially allow hackers access to critical devices such as heart rate monitors or dialysis machines. In the new Dartmouth-based project, the researches developed “Wanda”, a small hardware device that has two antennas separated by one-half wavelength and uses radio strength as a communication channel.

The solution makes it easy for people to add a new device to their Wi-Fi network: they simply pull the wand from a USB port on the Wi-Fi access point, carry it close to the new device and point it at the device. Within a few seconds, the wand securely beams the secret Wi-Fi network information to the device.

The findings will be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications in San Francisco in April. — IANS

The device has two antennas and uses radio strength as a communication channel

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