Medical devices in danger from hackers
Doctors prescribe medical devices for nearly 300,000 Americans ever year, including pacemakers, defibrillators, cochlear implants, neuro-stimulators and insulin pumps. Many patients would die without them. But they are easily hacked. According to this article, researchers have already shown they can change device settings, disable therapies and even send a potentially lethal shock command to a pacemaker-defibrillator.
The threat is “very real.” The number of elderly people in the United States is growing rapidly according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Medical devices – especially pacemakers, defibrillators and insulin pumps – will become more common as the U.S. population ages.
Hospital computers have already been hacked
ABC News reported recently that hospitals and health care organizations are top targets for hackers. Hackers recently shut down 65 hospitals in England and one in Los Angeles demanding payments to unlock their computers. The California hospital paid $17,000 to regain control of its computers. Attacks on hospitals are just “the tip of the iceberg,” according to the Harvard Business Review. Hacks of medical devices are “…an even more sobering threat.”
According to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety Communication in April 2017, many medical devices contain “configurable embedded computer systems that can be vulnerable to cybersecurity intrusions and exploits.” It issued the safety notice to make patients aware the St. Jude Medical’s Implantable Cardiac device needed a patch to protect it from hackers.
That same month, The Hill reported that Johnson & Johnson revealed its insulin pumps had a “security vulnerability” that hackers could easily exploit “and cause a potentially fatal overdose of insulin.”
Can the U.S. government protect Americans from medical hacks?
The FDA is the only federal agency responsible for the cybersecurity of medical devices. A medical website – Fiercebiotech – reported in May 2017 that “around half of device manufacturers were not using guidance from the FDA about how to secure devices.” It also reported that two-thirds of medical device manufacturers and more than half of health care organizations believe hacker attacks on medical devices are “very likely” in the next 12 months.
Wayne Wright can assist victims of defective medical devices
Wayne Wright knows that the responsibility for medical devices lies with their manufacturers. He is one of America’s top trial lawyers. His numerous, national legal honors prove he gets results they deserve for those who have been injured by a corporations failures. His legal services are free if he does not win your case. Calls and evaluations are also free.
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