Hacking a Pacemaker

This seems scary. Two researchers speaking at different hacker conferences revealed that they have learned how to turn off implanted pacemakers by remote control. Kevin Fu, director of the Medical Device Security Center, spoke at Black Hat while Daniel Halperin, a graduate student at the University of Washington, addressed attendees at Defcon.
Fu and Halperin said they used a cheap $1,000 system to mimic the control mechanism. It included a software radio, GNU radio software, and other electronics. They could use that to eavesdrop on private data such as the identity of the patient, the doctor, the diagnosis, and the pacemaker instructions. They figured out how to control the pacemaker with their device.

“You can induce the test mode, drain the device battery, and turn off therapies,” Halperin said.

Translation: you can kill the patient. Fu said that he didn’t try the attack on other brands of pacemakers because he just needed to prove the academic point. Halperin said, “This is something that academics can do now. We have to do something before the ability to mount attacks becomes easier.”

This is one of those cases where proving a point can give someone a heart attack. Link -Thanks, Kiltak!

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I'd imagine the same thing is possible with those brain stimulators they implant in Parkinson's patients. They activate them by remote control, so they're probably susceptible to hacking, too. But I don't know how close you'd have to be to actually hack a pacemaker. They might not have a huge range.

"Other hackers have figured out how to induce epileptic seizures in people sensitive to light conditions."

I don't think you need to be a hacker to do that, do you? Isn't a strobe light all it takes?
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