Archive for November, 2011

Modern Medicine = Drive-by Killings?

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

 

Insulin PumpMany electronic devices now have some sort or wireless functionality, and we really don’t think twice about it much.  Apparently neither do the manufactures of these devices…
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Take wearable Insulin pumps for example, which are used to deliver a continuous low-level dose of the hormone insulin to diabetics. They provide better control over the patient’s blood glucose levels than can be achieved through multiple daily injections.
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Modern insulin pumps communicate wirelessly with blood glucose measuring devices and the pump’s configuration software that monitor their blood glucose levels and deliver the appropriate doses of insulin automatically, and allow the patient or doctor to monitor the device(s) from a computer.
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Now what happens when you mix wireless insulin pumps with wireless hacking?  A particular line of insulin pumps made by Medtronics was found to have vulnerabilities that have been exploited to be deliver a FATAL dose of insulin.

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The transmission range of the device is usually only a few feet with a high-gain antenna can be boosted to scan for wireless insulin devices from 300 feet away.

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Security software maker McAfee examined the situation and reported that the type of vulnerability could theoretically be used as a new cyber weapon. A hacker could launch a “drive-by” attack aimed at a high-profile target, such as a politician or corporate executive, who uses this type of insulin pump.

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