There is a darker side of technology in healthcare that many people never saw coming. Hackers are becoming terrorists by invading electronic medical devices with malware. These new devices don’t have the level of security and firewalls yet to keep out such malfeasance. Anything with software can be hacked and manipulated, such as a politician with a defibrillator. It was already discovered back in 2008 that a common pace-maker could be hacked and reprogrammed to become a deadly internal taser.

Even the top ranking hospitals in the country have electronic equipment that is infected with viruses that could potentially leach information. Most are not allowed to update security measures because there is strict protocol. Here is a list of other areas of vulnerability by internet expert, Pierluigi Paganini:

  • Limited battery capacity
  • Remote access
  • Continuous use of wireless communication
  • Susceptibility to electromagnetic (e.g., cellular) or other types of unintentional interference.
  • Limited or nonexistent authentication process (such as requiring a password) and authorization procedures
  • Disabling of warning mechanisms
  • Design based on older technologies
  • Inability to update or install security patches

This story and other links to media coverage of the pace-maker experiment can be found here:

http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2012/10/23/medical-device-hacking/

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