CAN CAR­DIAC AR­REST BE TRIG­GERED BY THE CLICK OF A MOUSE?

iD magazine - - Technology -

Pace­mak­ers im­planted in the chest re­quire a con­nec­tion to the out­side world so their set­tings can be ad­justed with­out fur­ther surgery. To do this some of them rely on Blue­tooth wire­less tech­nol­ogy, which is also used by smart­phones to ex­change data over short dis­tances, for ex­am­ple. This con­nec­tion to a per­son’s heart could be hacked: As early as 2007, when the pub­lic still con­sid­ered such a mur­der to be the stuff of sci­ence fic­tion, one U.S. gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial chose to ex­er­cise cau­tion: Dick Cheney, the vice pres­i­dent at the time, had his pace­maker’s wire­less ca­pa­bil­ity de­ac­ti­vated— be­cause of con­cern about a dig­i­tal as­sas­si­na­tion. Says Uni­ver­sity of Tulsa com­puter sci­ence pro­fes­sor Su­jeet Shenoi: “The de­vices can be com­pro­mised; the re­sult can be fatal, and the industry is do­ing too lit­tle about it.”

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