updated 07:34 pm EDT, Thu September 27, 2012
Insulin pumps, defibrillators capable of killing patients
According to a Government Accountability Office report, wireless medical devices vulnerable to remote control by hackers are proliferating, and should come under greater government oversight. Devices with wireless connections potentially vulnerable to attack include insulin pumps, pacemakers, defibrillators, and neurosurgical implants.
The report was ordered by the government after security researchers found exploitable vulnerabilities in insulin pumps. A particular model of pump could potentially be manipulated wirelessly to dispense fatal doses of insulin to the wearer. An earlier study discovered that a popular pacemaker could be altered wirelessly to deliver deadly shocks to the patient.
"Even the human body is vulnerable to attack from computer hackers," Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) said in a statement. "Implantable medical devices have resulted in tremendous medical benefits for the patients who use them, but the demonstrated security risks require a renewed emphasis by the FDA and manufacturers to identify, evaluate and plug the potentially rare but serious security holes that exist in these devices."