Executive Briefings

How Hacking Insulin Pump Demonstrates Security Danger of Internet of Things

Back in 2011, security researcher Jay Radcliffe hacked into his own insulin pump, demonstrating how a remote user could potentially deliver a fatal dose of insulin to an unsuspecting diabetic. It was a dramatic way to show the medical device industry how insecurity of devices could lead to life-threatening situations.

It's four years later and Radcliffe is now a senior security consultant and researcher at start-up Rapid7, which provides technology that collects data and performs security analytics. But the medical device industry is still feeling reverberations from his insulin pump hack as it's still grappling with the concept of security.

"It turned out to be quite a large story because people didn't realize these medical devices were so exposed. Since then it's thrust me involuntarily into an advocacy role on medical device security and the Internet of Things."

To be fair, with devices like Radcliffe’s insulin pump, the risk of someone actually wanting to or being able to successfully hack into it would be very small, he said. However, as next-generation devices roll out with more network connectivity to communicate with mobile devices and other things on the IoT, the risk becomes greater.

“When we open that door and have these devices communicate through your cell phone or over the internet … now we’re talking about a much larger threat,” he said.

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It's four years later and Radcliffe is now a senior security consultant and researcher at start-up Rapid7, which provides technology that collects data and performs security analytics. But the medical device industry is still feeling reverberations from his insulin pump hack as it's still grappling with the concept of security.

"It turned out to be quite a large story because people didn't realize these medical devices were so exposed. Since then it's thrust me involuntarily into an advocacy role on medical device security and the Internet of Things."

To be fair, with devices like Radcliffe’s insulin pump, the risk of someone actually wanting to or being able to successfully hack into it would be very small, he said. However, as next-generation devices roll out with more network connectivity to communicate with mobile devices and other things on the IoT, the risk becomes greater.

“When we open that door and have these devices communicate through your cell phone or over the internet … now we’re talking about a much larger threat,” he said.

Read Full Article