MASSDEVICE ON CALL — A modern insulin pump can be hacked from 300 feet away and told to deliver a lethal dose of insulin, a hacker and researcher for computer security giant McAfee proved.
Using a laptop and a custom-made antennae, Barnaby Jack’s software broke through the insulin pump’s security and altered its program to dump its contents, injected a potentially lethal dose of the hormone into a dummy pancreas used for demonstration purposes.
While the antenna he used was specifically designed for the purpose of scanning for and hacking the medical devices, someone with skill and intent could produce something similar to sell online, a common practice in cyber crime, Bloomberg reported.
Medical device hacking first gained center stage in 2008 when an MIT team cracked the code on a Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) defibrillator, and the issue made headlines when a hacker demonstrated a live hack of his own insulin pump on stage at a security conference in Las Vegas last summer.
The hackers have said that they hope to pressure medical device makers into installing better security on devices that many rely on daily for life-saving functions. No malicious device hacks have yet been reported anywhere in the world.
The growing clamor spurred Medtronic to hire a clutch of security experts to inspect its products and the device giant is also working with the Dept. of Homeland Security to implement changes, a process which may take years.
iPads fall short in radiology
While a handy tool for radiologists, iPads were recommended only as "secondary" displays, to be used when high-resolution monitors are not available, MobiHealthNews reported.
House subcommittee votes down IPAB
Members of the Energy & Commerce Health subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 17 to 5 to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, labeling it a health care "rationing board," The Hill reported.
U.K. calls for life-long checks for metal-on-metal hip implants
The U.K.’s medical regulatory body advised patients with metal-on-metal hip implants to undergo yearly tests for the life of their devices to watch for exposure to toxic metals, Reuters reported. The recommendation comes amid the ongoing hip implant kerfuffle focused around Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy’s ASR hip devices.
iRobot reinvigorates health care robotics research
iRobot Corp. (NSDQ: IRBT), famous for their Roomba automated cleaning robots, launched a new unit focused on emerging technologies, including a growing focus on health care robotics, the Boston Business Journal reported.
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