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Could your medical device be hacked?

In a prior post, we highlighted how some vehicles could be vulnerable to unauthorized users hacking into the car’s system to cause it to lose power, to have the braking systems operate (or cease to operate) without the driver’s knowledge. A user also described how his Jeep Cherokee was driven into a ditch by hackers.

If a car’s cruise control and braking system can be compromised, it is no wonder that people are afraid of medical devices being hacked in the same manner. It may seem a bit like science fiction, but it can actually happen. 

According to a recent report, infusion pumps could be vulnerable to cyber attacks. These devices are responsible for introducing medicines into a person’s body as well as regulating certain functions. Essentially, hackers could take control of the device and possibly disable it, which could have an effect on a person’s health and well being.

To give our readers a snap shot of how serious this could be, consider this; more than 10 million people across the United States rely on some sort of electronic device for their well-being, whether it is an infusion pump, a pacemaker, or a cochlear implant. The Food and Drug Administration has reportedly known about this danger for years, but has only issued guidelines to manufacturers to make these devices more secure. It remains to be seen whether these guidelines are actually being followed.

If a manufacturer fails to follow such guidelines, and a patient is injured as a result of a preventable hack, the device maker could be held liable

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