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Celo says healthcare platform is secure against cyber-threats such as KRACK vulnerability

Wednesday 18th October 2017

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Technology startup Celo, which recently teamed with Roche NZ, says its healthcare data platform is secure against cyber-threats including those that exploit the key reinstallation attack weakness, or KRACK, that may leave devices vulnerable when accessing Wi-Fi networks. 

"There are ways of getting into environments that are not secure and so security is really where our strengths are," Celo chief executive Stephen Vlok told BusinessDesk. The Celo system, which allows users to communicate with each other, send documents, photographs and patient details, uses industry compliant encrypted technology that is designed in line with mobile banking, he said.

According to the government's Computer Emergency Response Team, a series of Wi-Fi vulnerabilities have been identified and are collectively referred to as KRACK or key reinstallation attack. These vulnerabilities affect MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android and Linux internet-connected devices.

Health-care providers are "crying out for this tool" as they are currently using texting, emails and phone calls and lack a secure way to communicate about their patients, said Vlok. The advantage is that Celo provides secure communication for clinicians to "immediately reduce the current risk of patient information, including images, being exchanged on phones," he said. 

Celo and Roche NZ have joined together in a recent innovation partnership to make Celo's secure messaging platform available for some New Zealand Society of Oncology members to pilot this year, using its recently launched Smart Oncology Network, or SONet. The SONet project is a collaboration between the NSCO, Celo and Roche NZ. 

Roche NZ is essentially providing funding for the NZSO's regular subscription to the platform, said Vlok. "The pilot period is an opportunity to get the oncology network going and get oncologists talking to one another," he said.  It also gives Celo an opportunity to obtain added functionality and insight into the particular characteristics of oncology. The aim is that the network will then move to an institutional license provided by the district health boards, he said.  

Having a secure network is seen as vital. "Modern cancer research is conducted by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and scientists spread across our country. We need a tool that enables us to communicate to the whole team in real-time and still keep each patient's data 100 percent safe," said Ben Lawrence, medical oncologist and president of NZSO. 

Roche NZ medical manager Stuart Ryan also said that data protection is essential as personal, internet-based messaging and email services "pose special risks when patient health information is being discussed or exchanged. And people rightly expect high levels of data protection."

Vlok said there is international interest in its technology and the company is focused on Australia, the UK, Canada and Singapore. 



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