A security researcher has demonstrated how hackers can control insulin pumps and alter the readings on a blood-sugar level monitor, at the Black Hat security conference.
Jay Radcliffe, who is diabetic, claimed that critical medical equipment like insulin pumps and monitors contain security flaws which can be exploited by hackers. The researcher experimented on his own equipment first before revealing his findings, The Associated Press reveals.
As medical technology evolves, critical equipment such as pacemakers, surgical instruments and operating room monitors are being designed to send information back to the doctors and are capable of being controlled remotely by them.
Since the devices depend on networks to transmit information, there is a possibility that they can be exploited if vulnerability exists. There is no evidence, though, that the technique used by Radcliffe has been exploited by hackers.
"My initial reaction was that this was really cool from a technical perspective," Radcliffe said. "The second reaction was one of maybe sheer terror, to know that there's no security around the devices which are a very active part of keeping me alive."
However, medical device makers have argued that there is no real threat as the vulnerability has been discovered and exploited by a highly trained security researcher.