Hackers could attack your pump

July 2, 2010

Yep…  you heard right… apparently that is the news (somewhat old news) I just bumped into. As if controlling your diabetes was not hard enough, with balancing carbs, insulin and excersice, it turns out that Nathanael Paul, a Scientist who also lives with the condition is now worries that “hackers to access and remotely control medical devices like insulin pumps, pacemakers and cardiac defibrillators, all of which emit wireless signals.”

“What if someone hacked into that system and sent his blood sugar levels plummeting? Or skyrocketing? Those scenarios could be fatal.”

In this article from non other than CNN, Paul indicates that “The security concerns stem from the fact that pacemakers, defibrillators and insulin pumps emit wireless signals, somewhat like computers.

These signals vary in range and openness. Researchers who reported hacking into a defibrillator said some in-the-body devices have a wireless range of about 15 feet.

Many devices do not have encrypted signals to ward off attack, the researchers say. Encryption is a type of signal scrambling that is, for example, employed on many home Wi-Fi routers to prevent unknown people from accessing the network.

Researchers urged people who use wireless medical devices not to panic.

While security threats to medical devices theoretically exist, there have been no documented cases of wireless attacks on medical devices, the researchers said in papers and interviews.

The real concern will come when these devices are further connected — to phones, the Internet and other computers, said Kevin Fu, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.”

Am I worried… NO WAY!!!!  I’m too insignificant for a “hacker” to try to kill me… and there would be easier ways to do it anyway…

It is good that this issues are being raised so we can keep them in mind for the future, but for the moment I’m not too concerned.