Heart Problems

These Days, Even a Heart Can Be Hacked


This week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) together with the Department of Homeland Security issued an official safety notice concerning implantable cardiac devices made by St Jude Medical. Some of St Jude's pacemakers and heart defibrillators contain a flaw that could be potentially dangerous to patients.

The problem isn't with the electronic devices but rather the security of the network through which caregivers can control them. These implantable medical devices from St Jude, which is now owned by Abbott Laboratories, communicate wirelessly via a two-way transmitter in the patient's home. The transmitter, in turn, shares the information with the responsible caregiver.

A third-party security firm discovered that the transmitter could be remotely hacked potentially allowing nefarious access to life-maintaining implanted devices, modifying its programming to deplete the battery, alter the pace or even issue shocks. The FDA stressed that there have been no known cases of hacks, but the fact that the possibility exists is concerning. Abbott has issued a patch to address the vulnerability.

In the same safety notice, the FDA highlighted the growing potential of exploitation. As medical devices become connected via the Internet, they become exposed to the same digital security problems as any other networked product. But these aren't just fitness trackers or smartphones. This type of hack could be far more disastrous.

We expect billions more devices will be hooked into the Internet in the coming years. Hack attacks are reported frequently, but mostly with limited consequences. Now that big ticket items such as automobiles and human organs are connected to the Internet and potentially exposed to hackers, it will be vital to ensure security. The market excitement surrounding the Internet of things shouldn't numb us to the growing risks associated with cyber-security vulnerabilities.

This entry was posted on January 11th, 2017 and is filed under Devices. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Raghu Gopal On January 11th, 2017


Comments
(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Vodafone announces a deal to merge its Malta business with Melita, potentially creating a duopoly in the market: https://t.co/Hgxt7Vu2Aq
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
@sdjohnstone Young, committed, frustrated. Happens to the best. PS at least one of those yellows was nonsense that day.
Follow Shaun
Martin Garner
@virginmedia Not just me, clearly, but a large share of the population.
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
Wow! "The number of devs following leading AI frameworks on GitHub grown to over 75k from less than 5k in 2 years" https://t.co/AsMWYZyz66
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
Hugely proud of Bulgaria- runner-up of the #Eurovision. Congrats to my Portuguese friends and colleagues for their winning- lovely song!
Follow Marina
Nicholas McQuire
@thomnico @disruptivedean Ask the LSE (their research). Potentially: AI devs & design ML Systems engineers AI Comp… https://t.co/BJSA3mc9VH
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
Stunning #MonacoGP #F1 in #UltraHD #4K #SkyF1 https://t.co/jtL2MaeoJz
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
@Gabeuk @mobileeurope @VeonDigital @eurocomms @proximus @Proximus_Group VEON's Yogesh Malik and Proximus' Geert Standaert.
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
RT @benwood: Paying for lunch with Samsung Pay. A big challenge in the UK market, particularly 1 year after Android Pay, but seems to work…
Follow George
Katie Taylor
Working on a new study on @SketchBookPro with the @AdonitNews Jot Touch stylus https://t.co/4m2Q9v0eUl
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Intrigue in the Med Vodafone Malta Consolidation Creates Potential Duopoly At f... Read more
Blog Post
Eight-Cylinder Silicon As Cars Become Computing Devices, Automakers Race to Adjust ... Read more
Blog Post
SoftBank's Vision Fund Nears Its Goal Technology Development Set to Receive a Shot in the Arm Thi... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Sales of 5G Smartphones to Hit 100 Million in 2021 Over 10 billion mobile phones to be shipped in the next five... Read more
More news