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Hackers can take over MEDICAL equipment: Security experts discover telesurgery robots are at risk from cyber attacks

The development of a form of medical technology known as telesurgery, which uses robotic arms capable of performing surgery that can be remotely controlled, has tremendous potential to save lives and money. The ability to remotely perform a surgical procedure is an inexpensive way to partially solve the problems associated with the lack of expert surgeons in remote areas, for example.

However, security flaws have recently been identified regarding the remote control communication systems used to operate the machinery, which could easily be exploited by hackers. Researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated how a hacker could take over the controls and interfere in a surgical procedure, making it impossible to perform.

The problem is that telesurgery procedures take place using public networks instead of secured private networks. Public networks can be hacked into with relative ease using various forms of cyber-attack.

The team of scientists used a device that was developed at the University of Washington – the Raven II teleoperated robotical surgeon – to test the security of the systems used to control it.