Hacker demonstrates a pacemaker vulnerability with an 830-volt electric shock
Shocking and killing someone with their own pacemaker might sound like something straight out of a Tom Clancy book. But apparently it is completely possible because Barnaby Jack, of security vendor the IOActive, demonstrated this very vulnerability in pacemakers at the BreakPoint security conference in Melbourne, Australia.
According to SC Magazine, Barnaby demonstrated how he was able to use a laptop to access every wireless pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) within a 30-foot radius. Barnaby also showed a video demonstration, which he chose not to release publicly, of how he commanded a pacemaker to send an 830-volt shock.
And that’s not even worst-case scenario.
Barnaby says that a hacker could potentially breach their firmware in such a way that could allow them to upload some nefarious malware that could potentially spread from wireless pacemaker to pacemaker like a virus.
This is not the first time we have heard about vulnerabilities in this sort of medical equipment. Previously, a security researcher named Jay Radcliffe explained how a wireless attack on insulin pumps could be used to kill people. This is just another example of why all our wireless electronics need to be as secured, much like—if not more than—our computers.