Digital Security To Have An Increased Impact on Physical Safety

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Now that wireless connectivity is available in vehicles, medical devices, and more, weaknesses in cyber-security may soon have an unprecedented impact on physical safety. The proliferation of internet-ready devices is a development that the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group believes could signal a brave new world of personal injury law.

...if a vehicle’s airbags are flawed or nonexistent, the makers of the vehicle will share responsibility. Why should an accident created due to flaws in cyber-security be any different?

Personal injury cases used to be fairly straightforward. If a product breaks, the injured party sues the maker. In an automobile accident, the driver whose actions led to the crash owes compensation. The victim of a dog bite is entitled to reimbursement from the animal’s owner.

But with the advent of the internet, rarely are cases as cut and dried as what’s described above. Consumers across the country are ceding an ever-expanding amount of control to computers, even if they don’t realize they’re doing so. And when a system that’s responsible for safety is faced with a cyber-security threat, the results could be tragic.

The wrongful death lawyers of the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group are preparing now for this new frontier in personal injury. They’ve seen the evolution of online technology during three decades of legal representation and are already getting ready for the challenges that lie ahead. Firm partner Larry Nagelberg knows that cyber-security is a subject that mustn’t be taken lightly.

“Wireless internet is a pervasive part of our existence,” said Mr. Nagelberg. “But safety doesn’t always keep up with progress. You carry around a mobile device that has access to your sensitive financial accounts. You drive a car that’s capable of interacting with other vehicles to avoid a crash. Even medical devices are now connected with a doctor and a hospital at all times. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that gaining unauthorized access to these items isn’t all that hard for those who set their minds to it.”

In a June 18 Economist report entitled “How vulnerable are medical devices to hackers?” the authors were able to compile multiple instances of medical products either falling prey to a virus or a security team demonstrating how such a cyberattack would be possible.

The threat cannot be underestimated, and it’s up to device makers to make sure that ease of use or increased interconnectivity never come at the cost of a life. The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group explains the areas where danger lurks and what the future of personal injury law might look like.

•Medical Devices- An unscrupulous hacker could gain access to a device implanted within a person’s body that is meant to keep them safe. With such access, medication or therapy levels could be altered or a device could be shut off completely, situations which could pose life-threatening complications.

•Hospitals- It’s not just implantable devices that could be compromised. Hospitals are more connected than ever before. If a virus hits one wing or one device, it could be transmitted to other parts of a facility with relative ease. The hospital’s ability to provide adequate treatment would be crippled.

•Automobiles- Research into Vehicle to Vehicle and Vehicle to Infrastructure technologies is ongoing, and Google is busy developing fully autonomous automobiles. Each of these future systems and many others available right now rely on some type of wireless connection to operate, which leaves them open to a cyber threat that could potentially cause a deadly vehicle crash.

The Nagelberg Bernard legal blog recently related news about a research team that was able to overtake a vehicle’s computer system by plugging in a third party device below the dash. They were also able to transmit a code via Wi-Fi that could infiltrate the vehicle’s systems.

If and when accidents begin to occur due to the inadequacy of security, makers of the devices in question will be on the hook for damages. True, the individual who purposely hacked into the product will be responsible, but they will share that responsibility with the maker of any device who couldn’t bother to enact the proper security precautions. Mr. Nagelberg explains:

“In the modern world, an automaker wouldn’t produce a vehicle that didn’t have airbags. Accidents can and do take place all the time and certain precautions must be taken in preparation for such events. Someone else’s improper driving maneuver could cause a collision, but if a vehicle’s airbags are flawed or nonexistent, the makers of the vehicle will share responsibility. Why should an accident created due to flaws in cyber-security be any different?”

Nagelberg Bernard represents the victims of numerous types of personal injury accidents, including dog bites, slip and fall incidents, automobile collisions, defective products, and wrongful death in any of the above. They have guided injured persons through the legal process for more than 30 years and their efforts have helped secure more than $400 million in compensation for clients. The firm offers free consultations and a host of personal injury resources.

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