Saturday, 14 April 2012

Medical Device Hacks May Kill

Cc courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory, Flickr
Yep, you read that title right! I was skimming through the BBC news health section and came across an article about the dangers of wireless medical devices. Prof Kevin Fu, a computer scientist of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has found that many 'preventable deaths' have occurred simply because the coding in the devices can become corrupt because they are not strictly checked, they are also not encrypted which leads us on to the research of Barnaby Jack of the security software firm McAfee.

Mr Jack has shown that the open radio communication poses some horrendous risks. In just two weeks he was able to hijack a well know insulin pump and turn it into an attack machine by overriding the device and forcing lethal doses of insulin from the pump. A tool could be made to identify people who had these machines and turn them into death machines simply through radio communication.

So be warned if you have any form of medical device that transmits data wirelessly. If you happen to piss of a nerd they could turn your life saving device into your own death sentence. The Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency informed the BBC that they monitor all devices to insure the safety of the patients and that the illegal use of these devices is 'extremely remote.' If it was me though I'd still be concerned; I guess when you understand even just a bit of code you can see how they would be able to manipulate the devices, and to be honest it scares me.

What are your thoughts on this?

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