• Biometrics
  • Kenya signs up GenKey Healthcare Solutions

    GenKey, a leading provider of end-to-end solutions for securing identity in Healthcare, has announced that it will supply its Healthcare Solution to Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). The solution comprises an electronic healthcare information management system, including a biometric smart card solution for member registration, identification and verification and a healthcare management system to generate electronic claims at the hospitals. GenKey is also planning to include a core insurance application for processing claims at the NHIF.

    An article in GenKey says the company will be delivering all hardware, software and training and support services together with local partner Munshiram International Business Machines (MIBM). Michiel van der Veen, CEO of GenKey says “We are very excited about this project, which aims to facilitate the Kenya NHIF with an accessible, affordable and high-quality health management information system that will help increase efficiency and curb fraud.” He believes it’s an important milestone for GenKey, and hopes it brings them closer to being the leading provider of digital healthcare solutions for Africa.

    Biometric registration of 4 million NHIF members and dependents commenced on the 1st of September 2015. This is an exiting time for eHealth in Kenya. 


    Image from GenKey

  • Cyber-security still needs to catch up

    Extensive reporting and publicity about information security has raised its profile and awareness over the last few years. The HealthCare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Cybersecurity Survey 2015 says it’s now a priority for 87% of organisations surveyed. About two-thirds have had a breach in the last year. These are valuable lessons for Africa’s healthcare.

    Healthcare organisations rely on anti-virus software, firewalls and data encryption to secure their eHealth environments. They need to rely on extra defences to the same extent, including multi-factor digital identity for authentication, dynamic biometric technologies and dark web research too. Only 12% conduct mock cyber-defence exercises, so there’s scope to increase these.

    Important goals of better cyber-security are responding to risk assessments and concerns about phishing attacks and viruses, especially malware. Most organisations say their internal resources, such as security teams, identified security incidents. About 17% were identified externally, such patients whose data were compromised, or a law enforcement agency.

    Communications about cyber-security have several sources. Some 60% is from their peers by word of mouth. Vendors’ intelligence accounts for about 49% and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) alerts for 45%. It was set up in 2003 to protect the USA's Internet infrastructure, and co-ordinates defences against, and responses to cyber-attacks.

    Over half the organisations said they use external organisations, such as a vendors, consultants or law enforcement agencies to investigate their security incidents. Almost half didn’t. They used an internal team to deal with breaches. Constraints in dealing with them included lack of staffing and finance. Perhaps more alarming is that 42% said there are too many emerging and new threat tracks. It indicates that cyber-crime may be overwhelming healthcare, especially in the USA.

    Both internal and external threats are a worry.  Two-thirds had a high degree of concern about external threats. About 42% had a high degree of concern about threats from people inside their organisation.

    A simple conclusion is that cyber-security challenges are still increasing. Africa’s healthcare has to catch up too. If you’re a HIMSS member, you can download the full report.

  • Selfies will soon look behind faces

    Like them or loath them, selfies are popular. So far, they haven’t been able to look behind a face. Now, a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab seems to have done it. Tristan Swedish and his colleagues will present their findings and propositions at a conference of the Association for Computing Machinery and Graphics (ACM), a non-for-profit organisation that claims to be the world’s biggest educational and scientific computing society.

    They’ll present their paper, Self-Directed Eye Alignment Using Reciprocal Eye-Box Imaging, at ACM’s Special Interest Group on Computer GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) conference in August 2015 and say their approach is a user-interface challenge, and exploits the reciprocity of reversible light, so if you can see me, I can see you. The technology will develop near-eye alignment displays essential for Head Mounted Displays (HMD), biometrics and retinal imaging.

    The retinal imaging part is exciting. Retinas can reveal evidence of several diseases, such as heart conditions, strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Interpreting the condition of retinas, such as their colours and blood vessels, is needed to diagnose many conditions. This may be Tristan’s Swedish’s next project. His team’s already working on software that will collect, analyse and report on the data.

    For Africa, this may help overstretched medical teams to have rapid information and reports on diagnoses and the trends in conditions that they can use to intervene and help to slow down conditions. A combined gain in efficiency and effectiveness is a boon to Africa’s healthcare.


    Image courtesy of storyhoney.com.

  • Marc Goodman offers us his cyber-threat dark side

    If you’re not sure of the scale and change of cyber-threats, there’s a book for you. Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everybody is Vulnerable and What we can do about it, by Marc Goodman, describes how corporate ICT defences are attacked on a rising scale and often breached. He draws from his database of hundreds of breaches to show the risks and how cyber criminals can steal identities, empty online bank-accounts and crash servers.

    Some of the ways seem bizarre, such as accessing baby cam monitors and pacemakers, analysing people’s social media activity to find the best times to break in, and using algorithms for ransomware that locks users out until they pay a release fee. As technology expands, the threats do to. 3D printers can produce AK-47s, terrorists can download Ebola recipes and drug cartels are building drones.

    Sophisticated security boundaries become a new challenge and can have new inherent limitations. An example is using biometrics instead of passwords which is probably more secure, but once they’re breached, probably by cyber-theft, users and organisations can’t change them quickly and easily.

    Marc Goodman sees a future where ICT can detect cyber-invasions promptly and take remedial action to lock them out. It doesn’t seem as though this is imminent. To reach this goal, he proposes widespread collaboration between public and private sectors on ideas and initiatives to try to jump ahead of the cyber-criminals. The underlying theme is constant vigilance and investment and solutions that are at least as imaginative as the cyber-criminals.

    Marc Goodman’s experience is extensive. He’s worked in law enforcement as a policeman on the streets, been a senior adviser to Interpol, a futurist with the FBI and trained police forces in many countries. He’s the founder of the Future Crimes Institute and the Chair for Policy, Law, and Ethics at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University.

    His book’s published by Bantam Press, part of Transworld Publishers. The price is about US$28 or £20. You may find it cheaper if you search the web securely.