Hacking is something that has been in existence since the introduction of the first computer. In fact, it has been around for many centuries. As we’ve had more advances in technology, many hackers have also developed and broadened their hacking skills and techniques enabling them to target larger companies. They have even been able to access people’s private information, stealing it and sharing it with the world. Recently, Talk Talk Business were affected by hackers. Over 157 000 of their customers, information was accessed.
There are now mounting concerns over the threat of medical devices being hacked. Kaspersky Lab a security firm announced in February 2016 of their success in hacking into a hospital’s I.T infrastructure, which gave them full access to the hospital’s MRI device (magnetic resonance imaging).
The pharmaceutical company, Johnson and Johnson, who produce many types of insulin pumps, from the Animas Vibe, The One Touch Ping and the 20/20, have recently warned that one of its pumps, The One Touch Ping is at risk of being hacked, which can result in an overdose in patients using the device. They have reported that although these pumps were vulnerable, the risk of hackers entering the pump data was very low.
However low it might be, this is an extremely frightening prospect. We have enough worries when it comes to managing our condition. This is just another extra burden to carry. I have a great deal of trust in my pump but to my diabetic friends who are users of the One Touch Ping, I can imagine that this will affect their relationship they have with their pump. Being able to rely on it as you once did before will be difficult. Yes, the risk is low, but the fact that a risk even exists is extremely unnerving.
Johnson and Johnson said, “It would require technical expertise, sophisticated equipment, and proximity to the pump” before the pump could be accessed.
As this pump is only produced in the United States and Canada, all patients using this pump were contacted on the 27th September 2016 and warned of these possible risks.
The One Touch Ping works via a Wi-Fi remote and enables diabetic users to administer insulin without having to take out the pump from underneath their clothing.
Johnson and Johnson have also said, “That the pump was not connected to the internet or any external network.”
A diabetic and researcher with a cyber security firm Rapid 7 said, “He had discovered it could be hacked from a distance of 25 feet. Communication between the insulin pump and its radio frequency remote could be hijacked- in theory allowing a hacker to administer unauthorised injections.”
Although Johnson and Johnson had confirmed these findings, they still insisted that the pump was safe to use. They also stated that concerned patients “could take precautions, such as not using the pump’s remote and programming the device to limit its maximum dose.”
This report was a few weeks ago now so, what are your thoughts on this finding? Existing users, what precautions have you taken since this information has come to light? Please feel free to share?