Feeds

Paging Dr Evil: Philips medical device control kit 'easily hacked'

Homeland Security 'taking an interest'

Website security in corporate America

Researchers have discovered security problems in management systems used to control X-ray machines and other medical devices.

Terry McCorkle and Billy Rios of security start-up Cylance used fuzzing approaches previously applied to unearth security holes in industrial control systems to find a way into the Xper Information Management system from Philips.

The tactic allowed the researchers to gain privileged user status onto the medical information management system. "Anything on it or what's connected to it was owned, too," Rios said during a presentation at Digital Bond’s annual SCADA Security Scientific Symposium (S4) conference, which took place in Miami this week.

The attack was in part enabled by weak remote authentication supported by the system, as well weaknesses that left it open to fuzzing - a tactic that involves throwing variable inputs at a test device until a fault condition that might be exploited occurs. The researchers obtained the kit which had been in service at a Utah hospital from an unnamed reseller.

"We noticed there was a port open, and we started basic fuzzing and found a heap overflow and wrote up a quick exploit for it," Rios told SC Magazine. "The exploit runs as a privileged service, so we owned the entire box - we owned everything that it could do."

Authentication logins, one with a username Philips and password Service01, may be hardcoded but Philips denies this.

Philips said that the flaw exists only in older version of Xper. It suggested that the vulnerability was in any case limited to data management features, rather than creating a mechanism for hackers to control connected medical kit.

"Current Xper IM systems do not use this version of software," a Philips spokesman told Dark Reading. "If an Xper IM workstation is compromised by a potential vulnerability, that may affect the data management capability, but X-ray equipment continues to operate independently," he added.

Both the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ICS-CERT, which normally deals with security issues involving industry control kit, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reportedly taking an interest in the issue.

Information security shortcomings in medical equipment and devices has hit the news before. For example during a presentation at Black Hat 2011, Jerome Radcliffe showed how it might be possible to either remotely turn off or alter the settings on Medtronic's insulin pumps. Radcliffe, himself a diabetic, was able to hack into the pumps without triggering alerts.

Last year Barnaby Jack, the security researcher best known for "jackpotting" an ATM live on stage at BlackHat 2010, warned that pacemakers and implanted defibrillators are vulnerable to wireless attacks. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.