Many medical implants are vulnerable to attacks that could threaten their users’ lives, according to studies.
Security researchers have developed attacks that locate and compromise implants used to manage conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
One attack caught a radio signal that, if re-broadcast, would have switched off a heart defibrillator.
Researchers say more work needs to be done to secure implants and protect against malicious actions.
Barnaby Jack, a researcher at security firm McAfee, has discovered that the wireless links used to interrogate and update these devices left them open to attack.
In two weeks of work he found a way to scan for and compromise insulin pumps that communicate wirelessly.
“We can influence any pump within a 300ft [91m] range,” Mr Jack told the BBC. “We can make that pump dispense its entire 300 unit reservoir of insulin and we can do that without requiring its ID number.”
Prof Fu said the limited battery life of medical devices meant they could not use any authentication or encryption to protect signals passing to and from the device – leaving them open to attack in the future.
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