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Top Story

Your body is your internet -- and now it can't be hacked

Someone could hack into your pacemaker or insulin pump and potentially kill you, just by intercepting and analyzing wireless signals. This hasn't happened in real life yet, but researchers have been demonstrating for at least a decade that it's possible. Before the first crime happens, National Science Foundation-funded engineers have tightened security on the "internet of body." Now, the network you didn't know you had is only accessible by you and your devices, thanks to technology that keeps communication signals within the body itself. Body fluids carry electrical signals very well. So far, so-called "body area networks" have used Bluetooth technology to send signals on and around the body. These electromagnetic waves can be picked up within at least a 10-meter radius of a person. The research team has demonstrated a way for human body communication to occur more securely -- not going beyond a centimeter off the skin and using 100 times less energy than traditional Bluetooth communication. This is possible through a device that couples signals in the electro-quasistatic range, which is much lower on the electromagnetic spectrum. The research group is working with government and industry to incorporate this device into a dust-sized integrated circuit.

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