Can hacker assassins target insulin pumps?

Credit: flickr/cogdogblog

Don't you love it when separate trends crash into each other, making a big fracking mess? That's what we have with the fattening of America creating more diabetics. Insulin pump manufacturers, trying to be all cool and with it, make wireless insulin pumps. And those trends run head on into the Black Hat convention in Las Vegas last week, where security researcher Jay Radcliffe detailed how his insulin pump and continuous glucose meter turned his body into a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system. And those can be hacked.

In fact, with a good antenna, a hacker (or assassin hacker) could potentially control someone's insulin pump from up to a half mile away. Hard to shoot someone from that range without military training and noise, but a hacker with an antenna can do the job.

Do you believe this? If so, should we investigate all insulin pump related deaths over the past five years and see if there is a rogue hacker assassin loose? Or is this more hot air from Black Hat?

Blame Radcliffe?

The proper thing for this fellow to have done would be for him to have quietly informed the manufacturers of the problem and have them make corrections to the devices so that they are no longer subject to this kind of misuse. Instead, he alerts the entire world to it so that now there will be people who will actually try to do this. What an absolute idiot!

RogerInHawaii on

I expect that the medical device manufacturers are paying attention to these developments and will be responding in a suitable manner. I expect that the medical safety standards will shortly require some hardening of the devices to protect the patients against bogus signals.

David Wilson on

Nothing's safe

"Why would a stranger take the trouble [...] to do serious harm[?]" I admire your faith in mankind.

Johnny Truant on

I bet you money though there are going to be no changes made to the design at all. What it will boil down to is will it cost more to implement security or settle a civil suit when someone is killed by a hacker.

StrObO on

I can hack a Roomba. The possibilities are endless...

HexHammer67 on

All hooey

I wear a pump, and it has the wireless capabilities referred to tin the article. I have a simple solution....turn off the wireless feature. The feature is a convenience not a necessity for the system to work. I actually prefer to enter my meter readings into the pump manually.

Jason Rohde on

at the cost per unit these things cost, the added security will be well below any threshhold that increases the cost, except for maybe the FDA's cost to review the new software safeguards.

John782011 on

This story is bogus. It is like saying that anyone can open your garage door with a third party opener...Just give me the serial number off the side of the opener. Radcliffe even says in his paper "After investing months of spare time and an immense amount of caffeine, I have not accomplished my mission."

Nicholas Stein on

And while it may be possible to hack them wirelessly. I find this article to be nothing more than a feeble attempt at sensationalism writen by someone with absolutley no understanding of Diabetes or insulin.

egnever on

If your biggest worry is someone killing you by hacking your insulin pump, you're in very little danger. Any want to share their strangest fear of bizarre death?

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