Manufacturers are still not putting security first when designing implantable medical devices
A few million people probably first thought about the security of pacemakers and other implantable medical devices last December when watching the TV show “Homeland.” The character of Nick Brody contributes to an electronic attack on the pacemaker of the U.S. vice president. The pacemaker is made to fail once the attackers get some key security information from Brody.
Certainly, ever since the first pacemaker implants of the 1960s, biomedical engineers have made remarkable strides with implantable medical devices. IMDs, as they’re called, are delivering painkillers and insulin at proper rates; they’re measuring our vital signs and reporting them to doctors and nurses; and, of course, they’re still making sure our hearts beat as steadily as metronomes.
But these devices are essentially embedded computers, and with computers come questions of hardware and software security.