Feeds

Insulin pump maker ignores diabetic's hack warnings

Medtronic device susceptible to wireless tampering

High performance access to file storage

The maker of an insulin pump that's susceptible to wireless hacking was identified for the first time on Thursday by a diabetic researcher who said the company repeatedly ignored his warnings.

A commercially available pump made by Medtronic, the world's biggest medical device manufacturer, is vulnerable to attacks that allow strangers to increase, decrease, or stop the flow of insulin being administered, the Associated Press reported. The article went on to say that hacker Jay Radcliffe outted the Minneapolis-based company after “he was ignored in repeated attempts to alert the company to the defects.”

He has recently started relying on a new pump model made by Johnson & Johnson to treat his diabetic condition, according to The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

A Medtronic spokeswoman declined to discuss the interactions her company had with Radcliffe. She said a company representative attended a presentation Radcliffe gave earlier this month at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

During his talk, Radcliffe repeatedly declined to name the model or manufacturer in hopes he could first brief Medtronic representatives privately. The Department of Homeland Security, which examined his findings, eventually helped introduce him to someone inside the company, but even then his emails and calls went unanswered, the AP said.

The research into the vulnerability of wireless insulin pumps and other medical devices recently attracted the attention of two US lawmakers. In a letter drafted last week, they called on the Government Accountability Office to ensure that the devices are safe and will not interfere with other medical equipment.

Radcliffe also criticized Medtronic for a statement issued after his presentation which said that pump users could protect themselves against his attack by turning off the device's wireless function. The particular wireless ability he exploited can't be switched off, the AP said.

That's in addition to the zinger here in which Medtronic recently said: “To our knowledge, there has never been a single reported incident outside of controlled laboratory experiments in more than 30 years of device telemetry use, which includes millions of devices worldwide.”

The Medtronic spokeswoman didn't address Radcliffe's claims directly, but said the “risk of deliberate, malicious or unauthorized manipulation of our insulin pumps is extremely low.” Maybe, but it's telling that a diabetic hacker thinks otherwise. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.