Are Pacemakers in Danger of Attack?

Recently, medical manufacturers have started adding wireless capabilities to many implantable medical devices like pacemakers and cardioverter defibrillators. This technology allows doctors to access vital information and send commands to these devices quickly, but security researchers have called attention to concerns about their vulnerability to attack.

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control have developed a scheme for protecting these implantable medical devices against wireless attacks. The approach relies on ultrasound waves determining the exact distance between a medical device and the wireless reader that is attempting to communicate with it.

Claude Castelluccia, a senior research scientist at the French National Institute who was involved with designing the new access-control system, emphasizes that any scheme designed to protect medical devices needs to balance preventing unauthorized access with ease of use for all medical staff. He also believes that the new protocol is advanced enough to begin moving toward deployment. His group has built and tested a prototype system, and has already patented the technology. Courtesy of

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