Hacker reverse-engineers pacemaker to deliver fatal shocks

It seems like hackers can gain access to just about any electronic device these days, but now, in a scary twist, someone has demonstrated how even a pacemaker embedded in your chest can be corrupted from up to 30 feet away so that it kills you.

Today at a computer security conference in Melbourne Australia, a hacker called Barnaby Jack from security company IO Active demonstrated how he could hack into a pacemaker using a laptop, and download its model and serial numbers. Once he was in, he could reverse engineer the connections or even upload new firmware, giving him full access to the device. This allowed him to switch off the device, or even force it to apply an 850 volt shock to the heart.

While he didn't divulge the manufacturer of the pacemaker used, Jack said that he wanted his demonstration to act as a warning to medical device makers to secure their devices. In many cases he says that it's easy to gain full access to a device, without need for a password or authentication of any kind.

That's pretty scary, so in the meantime I guess I'll be watching for any nerdy looking guys walking into a nursing home with a laptop tucked under their arm.

SC Magazine, via PopSci

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