Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Heard from a friend about a new medical technology. His mother has a pacemaker with wi-fi access. The cardiologist logs into it by connecting to the home router and then read the current status and recent history. He can also make adjustments without having to have the patient come in to the office.

How secure is this? The doctor's computer, the network, the home router, and the device itself? 
"The issue is not restricted to pacemakers. Computerized hospital equipment is increasingly vulnerable to malware infections, according to a government panel. Technology Review reported that malware is “rampant” in healthcare environments, because under current US law, software used to run medical devices in hospitals must remain static once approved. It’s not that manufacturers cannot install anti-virus software or provide updates to fix security flaws, it’s that they will not do so, in order to remain in compliance with the Food & drug Administration."


Paul Bonneau said...

It's one of those things that looks like going down the wrong path, particularly for things like pacemakers which can not only keep a heart beating, but also stop it beating. The political ramifications are obvious - sedition brings a death sentence...

However some peon having heart troubles might not worry about such implications. He just wants to live.

What's wrong with ethernet, anyway? Why does everything have to be wireless, with the obvious security drawbacks?

drjim said...

I remember when the big "breakthrough" was that they could use an induction coil placed over it to program it and read out the data.

You had to go into the Doctor's office, but as far as I'm concerned that minor inconvenience far outweighs having a freaking WiFi hot spot connected to it!