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
Rumours of a merger of T-Mobile and Sprint are unconfirmed but plausible https://t.co/DvVlG7FsOb
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @geoffblaber: Looming #5G investment has to be a compelling argument for US carrier consolidation. Much changed since 2014. https://t.co…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @CCSInsight: Rumours of a merger of T-Mobile and Sprint are unconfirmed but plausible https://t.co/DvVlG7FsOb
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
Great round-up of what's to come at #MWC_2017 from @mobileworldlive - https://t.co/SDJLE3exCv https://t.co/MIbQeMoFyR
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
RT @Jessicalessin: I hope @Uber responds to this. Whole thing is worth reading. https://t.co/3V3Rbt74PE
Follow Geoff
Nicholas McQuire
A large commitment to GDPR & acknowledgement of its global impact> Microsoft & AWS Move to Comply w EU Privacy Law https://t.co/ywcqTxefdf
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
RT @cg_williams: Change in tone from government on BT Openreach row. https://t.co/0baujNsGAt
Follow Paolo
Marina Koytcheva
@benwood @George_CCS I like Emma Watson and Tom Hanks! :)
Follow Marina
Kester Mann
RT @CCSInsight: More views from @martin_garner @geoffblaber and @kestermann in #MWC17 show daily preview https://t.co/zEOyNHf0yu https://t.…
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
Wareable's look into Fitbit's potential new smartwatch - includes my thoughts. #wearables #wearabletech https://t.co/PZVLbJYsOc
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
Gold, Silver, Bronze With Only Three Runners, Everybody Gets a Trophy About th... Read more
Blog Post
Dubai's Vision in the Sky Dubai's Plan to Launch a Flying Taxi Fleet Is Certainly Intr... Read more
Blog Post
Network of Things AT&T Readies Category M LTE Launch in US and Mexico C... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Predictions for Mobile World Congress 2017 CCS Insight Looks Forward to Barcelona ... Read more
More news