Monday, 23 March 2015

Apple's Researchkit Could Be Gold Mine for Hackers

Earlier this week, Researchkit was announced by Apple. This is an open source framework which will allow the health and medical researchers to gather data via iPhone apps. Apple has confirmed that the Researchkit will be available from the month of April. The Researchkit has already been used for developing apps for monitoring asthma patients and to conduct studies on breast cancer survivors, Parkinson's disease and cardiovascular health.

According to the reports of Sagentia, due to the increasing demand of remote patient-monitoring, nearly 26 billion people can be expected to use health-related apps by 2017 worldwide. Danielle Levitas, a group VP at IDC opines that the healthcare-related market will get boosted by Wearable devices. Apple can be expected to be working on something hardware related which will depict their various healthcare partnerships. Market researchers suggest that Apple should move beyond focusing on fitness and increase the reach of the wearable devices to health and lifestyle.

Global reach: 

Researchers will be able to contribute towards activity modules like gait and memory testing, which are part of the framework. They have the option of sharing their data with the global community. Even though the Researchkit is currently available in app stores for US, the company will be rolling the same worldwide in other countries soon.


The apps which will be developed based on the Researchkit will be applicable to only those who have access to iPhone, which is not possible for everyone around the world. Apart from this not all the iPhone users will be comfortable in monitoring their health apart from sharing the data to a third party. Even though a massive amount of health data can be collected through this but the collection process cannot be deemed completely reliable.

Security Issues: 

According to Apple even though the data collection through Researchkit will not be at risk but security can be a major concern. Since the mobile security in general is poor, intelligence agencies and law enforcement have little qualm about conducting any surveillance on the mobile devices around the world. For example CIA has been working from years to crack the iOS security.

Meanwhile there has been so many instances of iOS hacking making it very less secure. On the other hand even smartphones are not secure since they require broadcasting personal information with the developers of apps. Researchkit might ask to access to an iPhone's microphone, GPS sensors to monitor patients.

According to the ABI Research, at the moment healthcare sector is not fully prepared for any new cyber-age. With the increasing number of cases pertaining to identity theft and fraud, the value of the personal health information becomes 10 times the value of a user’s finances. Millions of health records have been reported missing from the personal health information.

Despite this the health care industry spends a very less amount towards the cyber-security. The best way to secure data is not collect any data and if the data has been collected, then the user should encrypt the data and ensure the safety of the key.

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