Pacemakers the Latest Hacking Target

Pacemakers the Latest Hacking Target

A report, to be presented at a California computer-security conference in May, suggests that pacemakers and defibrillators may be targets for hacking.

Millions of Americans have pacemakers, which keeps hearts beating regularly, or an implanted defibrillator, which can restart stopped hearts with an electric jolt. After implanting a defibrillator under a patient's skin, a doctor uses a special device, about the size of a breadbox, to tell the defibrillator what to do -- for example, to instruct it to keep the heart beating at a certain rate or deliver a test jolt.

The devices, called programmers, communicate with a defibrillator using radio waves. To prevent tampering, only physicians are allowed to buy one from the manufacturers -- Medtronic Inc., Boston Scientific Corp., and St. Jude Medical Inc.

But hackers could transmit the same radio signals -- causing a defibrillator to shock or shut down, or divulge a patient's medical information -- without needing a programmer, researchers found in a laboratory test of one model from Medtronic.


Great, now we need antivirus apps for our pacemakers.  Seriously though, although this has never happened yet (and thanks to you researchers for giving hackers a new idea), it could happen.  Perhaps a serial number for the device that has to be entered for the programmer to work would fix the problem?  Or some other such way of preventing just anyone from controlling a pacemaker?  You can imagine the problem if the records holding the information necessary for reprogramming were lost, however.

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 Some idiot is going to take advantage of this in a evil way....::sighs::. There is just too much evil in the world we live in...We need a more secure system, maybe a small jack input on the sky instead? O_O...Cyborg ftw!..lol. But yea, bad idea and obviously a joke =P. Everyone would hate a pin jack somewhere on their body. But there does need to be moer security...or some idiotic bafoon will take advantage of it and think it's funny messing with people..only to have them actually die -_-...

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Wow this is not good. It's funny because my friend happens to have a pacemaker himself and he says that it uses this linux operating system to control it. He said that he tried hacking his own pacemaker before but had no luck with it. Don't ask me why he tried doing that but it is interesting.

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i can understand messing with someones computer over endangering ones life 

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Psalm 53:3
Everyone has turned away,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

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I just can't imagine WANTING to do this for kicks and jollies....I mean 95% of the people that need these devices are like 95 years old; what would be the point unless you are basically inhuman or something. As they say, world is going to hell in a handbasket......

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I'll bet evildoing hackers wouldn't have considered this if researchers hadn't draw attention to this.

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Very good and valid point Lev....They should of just beefed up the security without raising awareness to such a situation. ::shakes head:: 

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Modern day assassination takes a turn for the weird. Obviously this is an issue that should have been resolved privately without bringing its attention to the public unnecessarily. They will either need some sort of encrypted transmission protocol, or authentication PIN or password. Now that the cats out of the bag they better make sure to correct this vulnerability.

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everything that has a chip in it has the potential to be hacked. yes tv. satilites, nucleur weapons etc... you just have to set firewalls to prevent so the loops the would be hacker would have to get through are never ending.  

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Firewalls may be a bit expensive -- maybe implementing a simple IPS/IDS system? But yes.....EVERYTHING needs some sort of security which consequently says a lot of the integrity of the world hmm?

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Most hackers I think do things just to see if they can. However messing with a life is really where I hope they draw the line.

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