Tech

Hackers Could Kill You By Turning Off Your Pacemaker

Hackers steal email data from entertainment giant!

Hackers hijack smart car!

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All very real headlines from a world becoming increasingly familiar with the activities of dark web vigilantes. But as life becomes more 'connected', with smart devices filling our homes, offices and even bodies, hackers will be able to do even more invasive damage in the near future - like turning off your pacemaker.

A demonstration of the potential vulnerability of new artificial implants was carried out by a group of students at the University of South Alabama. They were given a few hours to play around with iStan - a $100,000 "wireless patient simulator", which can mimic human cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological systems. 

"The simulator had a pacemaker so we could speed the heart rate up, we could slow it down," Mike Jacobs, director of the simulations program at University of South Alabama, told Motherboard. "If it had a defibrillator, which most do, we could have shocked it repeatedly. If it was the intent, we could definitely cause harm to the patient.

"It's not just a pacemaker, we could do it with an insulin pump, a number of things that would cause life-threatening injuries or death."

Far from being an exercise in fearmongering, the tests were carried out to highlight the growing need for more secure data systems to be installed in the latest artificial organs and limbs - many of which can transmit data to hospital staff, leaving them open to potential hacks.

Maybe sticking with some good old fashioned "dumb" systems might not be such a bad idea?

[Via: Motherboard]

(Image: CAE Healthcare)

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