Ron Thompson

PhD Student, Tufts Security and Privacy Lab

Email: rthomp06 at cs dot tufts dot edu


Research Interests

Hospitals are facing a security crisis. Criminals and other hacking groups have been targeting these organisations at an alarming rate in the last few years. During 2021, the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights has reported 253 data breaches of healthcare delivery organisations (HDOs) and the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency (CISA) has issued 17 advisories specifically for vulnerable medical devices. Cybersecurity incidents have caused patient deaths when sick patients could not receive necessary care, such as a ransomware attack in Alabama that prevented fetal heart rate monitors from reporting problems.

The goal of all health research is to improve patient outcomes. While my work stems from Computer Science it inherently is health research. My work provides information to healthcare and security professionals about ways to overcome barriers to adopting more secure practices for medical device management as well as providing solutions that ease this process. In turn that will lead to greater patient safety and improved health outcomes.


A Brief History of Time

Before Tufts, I wore a number of different hats in a vareity of industries. I spent six years working in various positions related to data science. I have experience in capital markets (specifically healthcare), defense, and politics. Some highlights include: co-founding a startup that developed technology for the Department of Defense, working at a hedge fund as a quantitative analyst, helping political campaigns with digital analytics and coordinating the cybersecurity for a presidential campaign. In addition to working in technical roles, I spent time helping organisations use data science to make business decisions and technical teams to meet the demands of business users.

I was born in New York City, but grew up in London. While living in the UK I was able to travel extensively around Europe and also spent a summer in rural India. My undergraduate degree was in Government with a focus in International Relations from Georgetown.


Personal Interests

Outside of computer science, I have a few hobbies/passions. First and foremost, is my love of the ocean. I grew up sailing on Long Island Sound in the US and on the Solent in the UK. I sailed in college at Georgetown, and continue to race as often I can. The cover photo on my site is from racing Etchells on Narragansett Bay, RI. I also am an avid paddleboarder and kayaker, you can find me out in the mornings on the North Shore of MA enjoying the salt air and waves on my board.


I also love road trips, since moving back to the US in 2010 I've covered a lot of miles. The map above shows all the places I've driven to/from. In this day and age, it is important to experience and see how all those we don't regularly come in contact with live. I'm lucky to have a partner who also enjoys these experiences and has served as my trusted navigator and DJ for many of these trips.

While I no longer am active in politics, I stay engaged with the civic process of elections by serving as an election worker for the City of Cambridge. I hope to continue to engage with my local community and work with local community colleges to provide security training for students.

Publications

Medical Device Security


Other Publications:

Non-Academic Publications

59 Likely Hostile - War on the Rocks

Depending on the soldier — his instincts, his temperament, his experience — “59 percent hostile” will either be interpreted as an even coin toss, or considered well over 50 percent and bound to happen. The language of probability lends itself to relatively easy interpretation...

Disinformation

Disinformation Research

In Progress