Morning Security Brief: Medical Device Standards Wanted, Behavioral Alert Program, Controversial Witness Protection, and More

By Carlton Purvis


►The Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, which advises the National Institute of Standards and Technology, wants the FDA to assess the security of medical devices like pacemakers and insulin pumps after researchers last year showed they could be hacked. “Advances in technology have created numerous medical devices that can be monitored and controlled wirelessly to change settings and gauge that they’re operating properly. But vendors have failed to secure the devices to prevent an unauthorized party from communicating and tampering with them—a potentially deadly security problem,” Wired reports. The board noted that there is currently an economic disincentive for reporting information about security vulnerabilities because hospitals could be sued for disclosing an incident.

►Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Psychiatric Emergency Department has developed a plan for notification, early in the intake process, that a patient might pose a risk to staff. The Behavioral Alert Program allows medical staff to flag in a person’s medical record if they have exhibited concerning behavior in the past and safety recommendations when dealing with the patient. “For example, if a patient presented a weapon before, the note would recommend that Security search the person and his or her belongings. It’s information already in the chart, much like data that a patient has diabetes or a fall risk,” says Michelle Patch, safety officer for the Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine.

►Lawyers and victims’ rights advocates are arguing against the detention of a 17-year-old female sexual assault victim who has been in jail since March 23 because she is a key witness in the case against a serial rapist. Prosecutors say the foster child is a flight risk with a history of running away, including failure to appear to a court date, forcing prosecutors to dismiss charges against the accused rapist Frank William Rackley. They were able to charge him with the same crimes on the next day, but now prosecutors want to make sure she doesn’t disappear again. The victim’s detention has been upheld three times by two superior court judges. “She's being treated like a criminal without having done any criminal act. In fact, she's the victim," said attorney Lisa Franco, who is challenging the decision. The girl’s attorneys say she should be released to a foster home with a GPS ankle bracelet. Sandra Henriquez, executive director of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault says this is the first time in her 20 years working with victims that she has ever seen one locked up.

►In other news, the New York Times examines the difficulty of foreign artists and performers to come to the U.S. after changes to visa requirements post-9-11. “According to Homeland Security Department records, requests for the standard foreign performer’s visa declined by almost 25 percent between 2006 and 2010…During the same period the number of these visa petitions rejected, though small in absolute numbers, rose by more than two-thirds,” the Times reports. ♦ Countries in the Indian Ocean are under tsunami alert after an 8.6 earthquake and an 8.2 earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia. ♦ And a security expert says when using an Android device without mobile security, it’s only a matter of time before that device is infected with a virus.



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