By Rebecca Turner
Life-saving wireless heart pacemakers could truly be ticking time bombs at danger of cyber attack, a Perth conference has been told.
Health-related device safety specialist Todd Cooper told the SRI Safety Conference at Edith Cowan University on Wednesday that wireless medical devices such as ventilators, patient-controlled analgesia pumps and MRI machines had been vulnerable to cyber attacks.
He stated that whilst no cybercriminal had however hacked into a health-related device with the intent of harming a patient physically, wireless devices were a recognised target and “a ticking time bomb”.
“Given the fact that this is a vulnerability that is there these days and can be exploited, I consider hospital personnel really require to take action rapidly,” he stated.
The danger of “medjacking” — or the hijacking of health-related devices — is regarded so actual that in September, the FBI issued a security alert warning on the threat.
The agency warned of the prospective for cybercriminals to hack into healthcare devices which connect to the web to send or acquire information, such as insulin dispensers.
“Criminals can use these possibilities to remotely facilitate attacks on other systems, send malicious and spam e-mails, steal individual info, or interfere with physical safety,” the FBI warned.
Two years ago, former US vice president Dick Cheney revealed that in 2007 he had the wireless function of his heart defibrillator disconnected to safeguard him from the threat of cyber attack.
Topics: health, web-technology, perth-6000