The insulin pump is a breakthrough medical device, a product of inventive scientific research and advanced medical technology designed to deliver continuous flow of insulin in the treatment of diabetes.
What if there were someone who could hack your insulin pump device and control the amount of insulin pumped in your blood? Scary thought right?
Large dosage of insulin pumped into the blood can cause severe symptoms including tremors, seizures, coma and sometimes loss of life.
In this high-tech, modern-day and age hackers do have access to anything that can affect our daily life and sometimes, even end it.
Harrowing hacking occurrences extend beyond crashing computers, stealing facebook accounts and cutting car’s brakes, now medical equipment may also fall victim to merciless hackers.
A researcher from McAfee, the global tech security company, was able to hack into an insulin pump and cause the device to dispense all 300 units of insulin it contained, according to BBC News.
The device functions via wireless signals to communicate with the pump-- which compromises the security of the device.
“We can influence any pump within a 300-foot range,” security researcher Barnaby Jack told the BBC.
“We can make that pump dispense its entire 300 unit reservoir of insulin and we can do that without requiring its ID number.”
Other medical devices that use wireless signals to monitor patient’s conditions including pacemakers, defibrillators are also susceptible to a hacker’s attack.
Although the potential dangers of medical device hacking are factual, there have been no real-life incidents to alarm patients.
“There is no silver bullet, it’s not that these problems are easy to address,” he said. “But there is technology available to reduce these risks significantly,” Kevin Fu, associate professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, told the BBC.
On a more practical note, diabetic patients should be concerned about their medical condition than the dangers of their insulin getting hacked.
Dr. David Lubarsky, professor and chief of the University of Miami Health System, told ABC News Radio, “Diabetes is infinitely more dangerous than the possibility of a hacker deciding to target your insulin pump.”
To learn more about diabetes, find a doctor near you.
The information on this site is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed medical practitioner. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition call your local emergency services or your doctor.