Researchers Warn Thousands of Medical Devices Can Be Hacked

Posted on October 16, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

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Cybersecurity experts have warned that hackers could tamper with more than 68,000 medical devices used around the world. According to the researchers, who presented their evidence at a hacker conference, computer interfaces used in medical devices were vulnerable to attacks using malware.

Devices vulnerable to hackers include computerized tomography scanners, MRI machines and other equipment hospitals depend on to properly diagnose patients.

Researchers set up 10 fake computerized medical devices to assess how many attempts hackers would make to pass along malware. At the conclusion of their experiment, more than 55,000 attempts had been made by hackers to access the fake devices, and 300 of the attempts were successful at infecting medical devices with malware. Most of the hacking attempts were traced back to countries that included the Netherlands, China and Korea.

How Can Hacked Medical Devices Threaten Patient Safety?

Hackers who are tampering with medical devices could threaten the lives of patients. Security researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to hack into pacemakers and kill patients. Earlier in September, students at the University of South Alabama wirelessly hacked into a pacemaker and killed a mannequin as part of a presentation. The demonstration showed it was possible to speed up the heart rate, slow it down, or use the defibrillator to cause fatal electric shocks.

The implications on patient safety are enormous, frightening and unacceptable. Last week, we wrote about the possible dangers associated with computerized tomography machines. Imagine if a hacker took control of a computerized tomography machine and changed the settings to deliver a fatal dosage of radiation to a patient. These nightmare scenarios may be just around the corner.

Shapiro Law GroupTampa Bay Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Tags: Cybersecurity


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