According to a newly published research paper from the Harvard Medical School backed Medical Device Security Center, it appears that hackers could use wireless technology to turn off heart pacemakers.

As unlikely as it sounds, the boffins reckon that people with an implantable cardiac defibrillator (or pacemaker as they are also known) to help their hearts keep a regular beat are at risk from hackers who could interfere with the device and even theoretically deliver an electric shock to the heart of an unsuspecting patient.

This is made possible by the unencrypted radio signals transmitted by the devices to enable reprogramming by doctors when necessary. "We believe the risk to patients is low and that patients should not be alarmed" researchers have said. Well that's OK then. Perhaps it has something to do with the $30,000 worth of kit required to perform the hack or the close proximity to the victim that is also a requirement.

Or maybe most hackers have better, and more profitable, things to do than hack into a heartbeat for a laugh…

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by happygeek

I am disgusted. However, I can't really see hackers doing this because it just isn't the mentality of the demographic.


Sounds more like the kind of thing that will get used in a movie: terrorists assassinate the president via WiFi by disabling his pacemaker. This assumes that you end up voting in an Old Age Pensioner again, instead of a younger more vibrant candidate of course :)

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