Hackers could attack your pump

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.

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3 Responses to Hackers could attack your pump

  1. kate says:

    holy crap! I am hoping to get on the pump soon and thought I had thought of every imaginable scenario of what might go wrong. Getting hacked, never crossed my mind. Crazy!

    Interesting post!

  2. Dennis says:

    That’s interesting but I think this “news” is more sensationalism than reality. IMHO the motivation just isn’t there yet since the number of devices is still limited. Unless the hackers have a specific person they want to target, I don’t see a reason for them to go after this sort of device. Things like laptops and cell phones contain far more useful and profitable information.

    That being said, I’m glad there are folks thinking about how to prevent this sort of thing now (i.e. before some idiot actually tries it). A little foresight and prevention goes a long way. There are a lot of existing technologies that the manufacturers can use to prevent it from ever happening.

  3. Robert says:

    I knew a woman, who was herself a police detective working
    on a sensitive case, to whom this has happened. If I weren’t
    working on cases involving criminal hackers, however, I wouldn’t
    hurry to have my pump removed. ‘Enjoy your blog.

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