Posted On: October 31, 2011 by Patrick A. Malone

Hacking Into Your Body

As if there aren’t enough things to think about when a medical device is implanted into your body, here’s a new, 21st-century concern: hacking!

As reported on, Medtronic, the manufacturer of the Paradigm insulin pump, is investigating the cybersecurity of the drug delivery device used by diabetics in lieu of daily injections. The concern is that the pumps could be hacked, and reprogrammed to overdose patients with insulin.

McAfee, a name known among computer users for its security software, identified the flaw, and indicated that the problem might not be limited to this particular piece of equipment. As medical devices increasingly rely on wireless technology for delivering meds such as antibiotics, chemotherapy and anesthesia, their software could be vulnerable to outsiders less concerned with medicine than life-threatening havoc.

So far, Medtronic has reported no hacking problems among its 200,000-some insulin pump patients.

But FDA warnings are nothing new to Medtronic; we recently wrote about problems with another of its infusion pumps, and a couple of years ago a Paradigm model was recalled.

But, really, hacking?

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