View Full Version : Safer Computing: 7/12/15

7th December 2015, 05:16 PM

We have all found ourselves in the near-panicked position of a nearly drained battery on our mobile device.
When coupled with a visit to a medical facility, it is easy to anticipate that the battery will be depleted long before the visit is completed.

If you look around the hospital room, you will notice that many of devices now have that familiar USB port into which a charging cable will fit.
What's the harm of "plugging in" to snatch a few precious volts while you visit a sick friend or loved one, or as you wait around in the emergency room?

The problem is that the ports on those devices are usually not simple charging stations. Those ports are used by the machine's technicians to service and update a medical device that may be responsible for keeping someone alive.
Innocently plugging your phone into one of those devices could damage the medical device, rendering it inoperable.

Furthermore, a phone that is already infected with malware could potentially transmit the digital infection, causing the medical device to behave in unpredictable ways long after the phone is unplugged. Imagine the implications when that equipment is called into service in a medical emergency.

By Bob Covello: -> https://grahamcluley.com/2015/12/care-charge-phone-youre-hospital/

7th December 2015, 11:16 PM
What a lot of twaddle and nothing to do with "Safer Computing".
Obviously written by an American journalist with a commitment to write a weekly article and no idea of what to write.

In every UK Hospital and Doctors surgery I have visited you are required to switch off mobile phones. This is for the very real reason (not to mention being anti-social) that the phone's RF signals can interfere with medical electronic equipment. As for "borrowing a few volts":rolleyes: that is stealing electricity which is illegal.

Sorry, rant over.

Wee man
7th December 2015, 11:27 PM
Tell that to the young ladies who visited a local cafe on Saturday for a coffee and stolen charge up! They even had their 13amp style chargers with them!

8th December 2015, 08:39 AM
I get these sent from the Open Uni and this one, I felt raised an issue that I've recently observed. Over the last few months I've spent more time in GP surgeries and in hospitals than at home, where mobile phones are in almost constant use. Can't say that I've seen users use machines to charge their phones but given the chance and the way one gets ignored when pointing out signs etc., it wouldn't surprise me one bit.

I put this up for the reason that many - far too many - ignore the signs. My observation is that the only public signs that get enforced these days are the 'No Parking' ones. Others, like those referring to 'litter' seems to get ignored. Then again, given the standards of today's education, perhaps those that choose to ignore the signs can't read them?

8th December 2015, 09:16 AM
The ban on use of mobile phones in hospitals or surgeries is not observed except for perhaps in intensive care areas where there might be sensitive equipment.
The last time I was in hospital for a few days, there was no ban on the use of mobile phones. There is a conspiracy theory that the ban was to cause patients to use the expensively installed and expensive to use bedside telephones.
Electricity was freely available for phone and laptop use.

As 4G is rolled out across the country and as costs come down mobile devices will more and more be used in hospitals to provide entertainment.

I recently read of a demand for there to be freely available WiFi service in hospitals, surgeries and all public offices. In Spire Hospitals there is a WiFi service specifically for patients/visitors

8th December 2015, 09:51 AM
Modern electronic equipment must legally be designed such that RF and other interference does not cause malfunction, and that includes medical devices. It's the audible interference from mobile phone users that's the problem ;). My sister's been in hospital quite a lot this year and there's been no hint of not being allowed to use her mobile. She was also able to use the 13A socket by her bed to charge her phone.

Those bedside phone/TV systems are an absolute rip-off in my opinion. 10 a day to watch TV, even for half an hour. The next day it's another 10. You get free phone calls to landlines but if anyone wants to phone you they are charged a premium rate.

8th December 2015, 10:28 AM
Equipment can be designed for a defined field strength (expressed in v/m or w/m^2) but it would be interesting if medical electronics is designed to be immune to a mobile phone transmitting at v-close range. A lot of the medical apparatus ive seen seems to be plastic boxes, I guess the material of choice for a number of reasons, eg cost and to provide a surface that is easily cleaned. Plastic is vertually transparent to short wavelength radiation.