Binghamton's Zhanpeng Jin Leverages
ECG Signals for Data Encryption
January 23, 2017
Researchers use heart’s electrical pattern as encryption key for
at Binghamton University, State University of New York have devised a
new way to protect personal electronic health records using a patient’s
"The cost and complexity of traditional encryption solutions prevent
them being directly applied to telemedicine or mobile healthcare. Those
systems are gradually replacing clinic-centered healthcare, and we
wanted to find a unique solution to protect sensitive personal health
data with something simple, available and cost-effective," said Zhanpeng
Jin, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer
Engineering at the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied
Science at Binghamton University. Jin is the co-author of a new paper
titled "A Robust and Reusable ECG-based Authentication and Data
Encryption Scheme for eHealth Systems."
Traditional security measures—like cryptography or encryption—can be
expensive, time-consuming, and computing-intensive. Binghamton
researchers encrypted patient data using a person’s unique
electrocardiograph (ECG)—a measurement of the electrical activity of the
heart measured by a biosensor attached to the skin—as the key to lock
and unlock the files.
Jin, Binghamton University
"The ECG signal is one of the most important and common physiological
parameters collected and analyzed to understand a patient's’ health,"
said Jin. "While ECG signals are collected for clinical diagnosis and
transmitted through networks to electronic health records, we
strategically reused the ECG signals for the data encryption. Through
this strategy, the security and privacy can be enhanced while minimum
cost will be added."
Essentially, the patient's heartbeat is the password to access their
electronic health records.
The identification scheme is a combination of previous work by Jin using
a person’s unique brainprint instead of traditional passwords for access
to computers and buildings combined with cyber-security work from Guo
research will be very helpful and significant for next-generation
secure, personalized healthcare," said Jin.
Since an ECG may change due to age, illness or injury—or a patient may
just want to change how their records are accessed—researchers are
currently working out ways to incorporate those variables.
Assistant Professor Linke Guo and Associate Professor Yu Chen, along
with PhD candidates Pei Huang and Borui Li, are co-authors of the paper.
The research was presented at The IEEE Global Communications Conference
(GLOBECOM 2016) in Washington, D.C., in December 2016.
The work is supported by Binghamton University’s Interdisciplinary
Collaboration Grant (ICG) program.