Smartphone attacks on medical devices? | On Call

December 27, 2012 by MassDevice staff

Security experts warn that hacking a medical device may soon take little more than a smartphone and some know-how.

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Cyberterrorists have already used smartphones to detonate bombs and remotely target other digital systems, and medical devices may be next on the list, according to some researchers.

There have been no reports yet of malicious hacks on medical devices, but researchers and technophiles have demonstrated, as a proof of principle, that modern devices that wirelessly communicate data can be infiltrated digitally, given the right combination of interest and savvy.

"Has there ever been a box connected to the Internet that people haven't tried to break into?" security expert Barnaby Jack told Vanity Fair. "I can say that I wouldn't want to discover a virus in my insulin pump."

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Now researchers are warning that malcontents may soon have the technology to attack medical devices with little more than a smartphone.

Many companies are already developing smartphone-based medical device management technologies, including ones that communicate with pacemakers, insulin pumps and other life-saving or life-sustaining technologies, according to the report.

Read more of's coverage of medical device hacking.