technology has helped save countless lives, but there is a growing threat that
some biotech companies may be ignoring - implanted devices that can be hacked
by skilled criminals.
There haven't been specific
cases of these devices being compromised, but recent
demonstrations at Black Hat -- and an increase in online reports of medical
device security issues -- has lawmakers worried about loopholes that must be
Earlier in the year, a security expert named Jerome Radcliffe hacked his insulin
pump's hardware onstage by reverse-engineering the device. He was able to use a
small radio frequency transmitter to disable the device, along with controlling
how much insulin was pumped using the pump.
"My initial reaction was that this was really cool from a technical perspective,"
Radcliffe said in an interview with the AP. "The second
reaction was one of maybe sheer terror, to know that there's no security around
the devices which are a very active part of keeping me alive."
Although it wasn't easy to successfully hack the device, security experts find
it alarming that Radcliffe was able to intercept the pump's wireless
Individual hackers likely won't be able to suddenly tamper with these devices
anytime soon, but criminals familiar with medical technology could pose a
threat if they attack a specific device. Furthermore, Medtronic, one of
the biggest medical device suppliers, doubts whether or not Radcliffe and other
hackers would be able to tamper with wireless devices in the real world.
Even so, researchers are actively working to design a jamming device to prevent
anyone from tampering and changing how medical devices are supposed to work.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is facing increased scrutiny from
the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and lawmakers concerned that certain
medical devices can be hacked. Of note, Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Anna G.
Eshoo (D-Calif.) are concerned that devices like insulin pumps, pacemakers and
blood-glucose monitors can be tampered with by criminals.
In Europe, the European Union is currently trying to find methods to ensure the
increasing blend between medicine and technology is done properly -- an
important issue as the number of people connected to electronic medical devices also increases. Meanwhile, U.S.
lawmakers want the GAO to evaluate these security risks, noting that medical
devices must operate in a "safe, reliable, and secure manner."
quote: We live in a world full of sick people who like to cause damage to other people or their property. Corp. are always the ones you need to worry about with everything from deadly recalled medications pushed through the FDA, corn ethanol in your fuel, to the lobbyists paying off your congressmen so Comcast/ATT/etc. can fuck you in the ass even harder . The law/punishment is intended to deter but you can't stop all stupidity...