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Press Release -- July 24th, 2013
Source: Verizon

Can a Medical Device Be Hacked?

There was an episode from Showtime’s Homeland series (season 2) in which Abu Nazir (the bad guy) kills the vice president by accessing his pacemaker remotely.

Now this makes for good television, but is this possible?

According the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s warning (June 13, 2013) to medical device makers and medical facilities, “many medical devices contain configurable embedded computer systems that can be vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches”. This means that medical device makers and medical facilities need to step up their security protections to guard against potential cyber threats that could compromise devices and patient medical information.

This entire scenario and the blurring of healthcare IT with cyber-security makes for a modern Brave New World plot in which cyber threats and malware can dramatically alter the paradigm of how technology driven care is delivered (think mHealth).

The good news, so far, is that the FDA is not aware of any patient injuries or deaths associated with these incidents nor do they have any indication that any specific devices or systems in clinical use have been purposely targeted at this time.

More good news, Verizon’s healthcare IT practice – its solutions and services – come with world class network security built in. For Verizon, security is in its DNA and not an ‘add-on’ read more.


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