There is no doubt that in the post-epidemic era, changes in patient health monitoring methods and changes in face-to-face medical consultation services will create greater demand for personal and wearable medical devices. And this change in terminal demand will inevitably lead to a new round of market demand for safer, high-capacity non-volatile storage products to meet the needs of wearable devices to store more user data, more reasonable cost per unit, and at the same time The need for higher security performance.
Personal Medical Devices Implicit Hazard of Intrusion or Attack
For the foreseeable future, people in many countries will continue to observe social distancing mandates in indoor spaces. Schools, factories and hospitals must find ways to reduce indoor gatherings to maintain safe social distancing. As a result, healthcare systems must prioritize technologies that enable monitoring and diagnosis outside the hospital so that patients do not have to physically visit the hospital for observation.
Wearable health tracking devices provide people with a new way of life that enables them to maintain healthier habits and enhance their ability to fight disease. Now, most people are already familiar with wearable health tracking devices, such as user heart rate monitoring. Winbond predicts that the proportion of medical personnel using wearable devices to treat various diseases will increase rapidly in the future. In the post-epidemic era, professional wearable medical devices and consumer wearable medical devices are likely to become the new darlings of the market.
However, the number of users of wearable medical technology has grown significantly, but it has also brought related security risks:
Professional medical equipment has extremely high safety features in some use cases – the life of the user is at stake. Therefore, these devices must be able to withstand malicious attacks such as distributed denial of service attacks, so as not to interrupt or paralyze the operation of the device.
The wearable device records the user’s private data and transmits it to a host device such as a smartphone, mostly via a wireless network such as a Bluetooth low energy radio. Importantly, the user must be able to trust that their device will only provide data to authorized parties, such as the user’s doctor.
There are real risks in using connected wearables, and official agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued a series of warnings asking device users and manufacturers to be aware of known risks, such as the SweynTooth that affects Bluetooth low energy radio chipsets A series of network security vulnerabilities. In March of this year, the FDA said in an announcement about SweynTooth that “software exploiting these vulnerabilities has been publicly available under certain circumstances.” Medical devices are most at risk when they transmit data or program code: for example, when a wearable heart rate monitor uploads heart rate measurements to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth low energy connectivity; or when wirelessly from the cloud When the network delivers updated firmware to the wearable device.
For simple wearable products, the construction of security measures is mostly limited to a microcontroller or system-on-chip (SoC), which has a small flash memory area built into the chip to store the security program code. But for more sophisticated devices, because the program code capacity is too large, which exceeds the memory capacity of the embedded MCU, an external flash memory is required to store the program code.
But this type of external memory can become a security hole if it lacks security features such as a cryptographic engine and a root of trust. If the external memory is at risk, no matter how secure the host MCU or SoC is, the entire device and the data in it will be compromised. Winbond’s latest secure memory product in its TrustME™ series, the W77Q, protects devices from remote software attacks and ensures secure and reliable end-to-end security for connected medical devices.
TrustME®W77Q mainly solves potential security problems through the following functions:
Secure program code updates, including over-the-air updates via an end-to-end encrypted channel between the update authority and the W77Q, even in the event of a compromised host MCU or SoC;
Secure Boot and Root of Trust
Authenticated and encrypted data transfer between flash device and host
On-chip execution of boot and application code (XiP, Execute-in-Place)
System resilience, enabling key security features such as protection, detection and recovery.
How to optimize the cost of storing large amounts of personal data
The use of wearables and home patient monitoring devices can relieve pressure on healthcare facilities and assist clinics and hospitals in maintaining safe social distancing. However, these personal devices generate large amounts of profile data. Monitoring devices with built-in multiple sensors are already available on the market. These devices can simultaneously track various vital signs, such as heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen concentration and temperature. Since wearable devices cannot be continuously connected to the Internet, their system architecture must be able to store user data locally, so high-capacity non-volatile memory is required. In addition, the diagnosis and treatment of patients need to be judged with this data, so data integrity is also one of the mission-critical requirements.
The traditional memory type used for non-volatile, zero-error data storage devices is NOR Flash, which is a cost-effective choice for low-density applications below 512Mbit. But when the required data capacity reaches more than 512Mbit, the NAND Flash process has more advantages. In Winbond’s medical device market outlook, NOR Flash for storing user data needs a high-reliability, high-speed alternative. To this end, Winbond has developed a new technology to improve the read and write performance of its SLC NAND Flash products.
For example, the W25N QspiNAND series offers capacity options of 512Mbit, 1Gbit, 2Gbit and 4Gbit, and shares the same interface as traditional SPI NOR Flash, allowing for easy and fast replacement in existing designs, with a lower cost per unit for 512Mbit capacity , using less board space. The W25N device also has fast program/erase performance and is reliable and stable: the product includes more than 100,000 program/erase cycles and a data retention period of over 10 years. The built-in Error Correction Code (ECC) engine ensures that the data in the storage space is free from bit errors.
In addition, Winbond also provides a higher-performance migration path for medical devices that integrate a large number of sensors and operate at high sampling speed: high-performance QspiNAND Flash and OctalNAND Flash products provide the same high-level reliability as SLC NAND Flash quality, And the data bandwidth is even higher.
A new generation of personal medical devices
The impact of the new crown epidemic is still ongoing, but it is clear that the medical industry is bound to use more personal and wearable technology devices. Among them, data is the key to these emerging personal medical devices, and also has a large impact on the design of security and storage systems. The wearable medical technology market is changing with each passing day. Winbond’s secure NOR Flash products and high-reliability, high-capacity QspiNAND Flash have taken the lead in the development. OEMs can trust Winbond and continue to use its new product types and technologies to meet the needs of The latest market demands for secure, low-cost program code and data storage.