“All industries need to be constantly vigilant against unauthorized access”, continued Ford.
The FDA is recommending that patients and their health care providers discuss the risks and benefits of the cybersecurity vulnerabilities and the associated firmware during their next regularly scheduled visit.
The previous year, the FDA warned hospitals to stop using Hospira’s Symbiq infusion pumps due to a cybersecurity problem that could allow hackers to alter a patient’s dosage by tapping into a facility’s network. All the old issues of St. Jude Medical are getting resolved by Abbott. “This isn’t a static process, which is why we’re working with others in the healthcare sector to ensure we’re proactively addressing common topics to further advance the security of devices and systems”. The hotline was set up by the manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories.
Concerns about the possibility of hacking a pacemaker are nothing new. The new updates provide an additional layer of security against unauthorized access to these devices.
The US Food and Drug Administration announced today that 465,000 pacemakers have a security vulnerability that could be exploited to make the device operate too quickly or deplete its batteries, and these devices need firmware updates to keep them from getting hacked.
A recent recall says half a million pacemakers could be hacked. “We will put a device on the pacemaker and check it to see if it needs a software upgrade that we can take care of”.
At present, 465,000 people having these implanted devices in United States must go to their healthcare provider for receiving the firmware update which can fix these vulnerabilities.
This update will be released outside the US following local regulatory approvals.
Abbott pacemakers including the Accent, Anthem, Accent MRI, Accent ST, Assurity and Allure are included in the recall.
Abbott has additional resources available on its website to address questions from physicians and patients about these updates at www.sjm.com/cyberupdate and www.sjm.com/batteryupdate.