Scientists work to keep hackers out of implanted medical devices

19 April 2010

Nate Paul, who finished a PhD in our group a few years ago and is now a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Labs, is the focus of this CNN story: Scientists work to keep hackers out of implanted medical devices, CNN, 16 April 2010.

Nathanael Paul likes the convenience of the insulin pump that regulates his diabetes. It communicates with other gadgets wirelessly and adjusts his blood sugar levels automatically.

But, a few years ago, the computer scientist started to worry about the security of this setup.

What if someone hacked into that system and sent his blood sugar levels plummeting? Or skyrocketing? Those scenarios could be fatal.

“If your computer fails, no one dies,” he said in a phone interview. “If your insulin pump fails, you have problems.”

As sci-fi as it sounds, Paul’s fears are founded in reality.

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