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Heart Device Vulnerable to Hacker Attacks

April 05, 2008 | 22,999 views
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RFID, id chips, hacker, hacking, id theft, identity, pacemakers, defibrillators, mark of the beast, surveillance, wireless technology, medical information, personal informationA team of computer security researchers reports that it is possible to gain wireless access to a combination heart defibrillator and pacemaker. They were able to reprogram it to shut down, or to deliver potentially fatal jolts of electricity.

The researchers were also able to glean personal patient data by eavesdropping on signals emanating from the tiny wireless radio embedded in the implant, which is used to let doctors monitor and adjust it without surgery.

There is no great danger yet, though -- the experiment required more than $30,000 worth of lab equipment, and the device the researchers tested was placed within two inches of the test gear. But the researchers said that the test results suggested that too little attention was being paid to security in the growing number of medical implants being equipped with communications capabilities.

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Dr. Mercola's Comments:

You may not realize this, but many of today’s implants have wireless communications features. This way, doctors can monitor their patients long-distance, and make adjustments conveniently via the internet.

What this study suggests is that too little attention is being paid to the security of these medical implants, equipped with communications capabilities. 

Right now the risks are very low. There’s not a single report of anyone with an implant having been fraudulently tampered with. However, technology is moving along at breakneck speed, and many are pushing hard for information-containing RFID chips to be implanted into every American man, woman and child, and that brings up not only serious questions about health risks, but identity theft and even government abuse as well.

Making Life Easier, or Just More Dangerous?

Conventional medicine does have its strong points. Emergency medicine and life saving contraptions such as heart defibrillators and pacemakers can be a real blessing.

However, I believe we, as a society, need to reflect deeply on the full, potential implications of implanting trackable devices that contain personal data, such as identifying information, financial information, and medical data – whether it’s housed in a pacemaker or an RFID chip.

Whether or not you believe in the Christian prophesies that warn of the “Mark of the Beast” as a sign of the last days, being tagged could at least mark you as an easy target for dangerous medical mistakes and ID theft.

Does the Chip Ensure Correct Data Entry?

As we’ve previously reported, the conventional medical system kills some 800,000 people per year. This statistic would lead you to believe that if doctors just had all the necessary information at their fingertips, you would be safer in their hands.

Unfortunately, it is the doctors’ failures in judgment, vigilance, memory, knowledge, patient-related factors, and handing the patient off to others that are the leading factors contributing to medical errors.

RFID implants are being seriously considered to be used down the road to store all your medical records. However, the medical information on your chip is only as good as the person(s) who entered it in. And if you’ve ever read through your credit reports, you know just how flawed these kinds of data banks can be. It’s a miracle if they even get your name spelled correctly.

So who’s responsible for data entered incorrectly?

Again, using the credit reporting agencies as an example – no one is willing to take responsibility! The finger pointing just goes ‘round and ‘round ‘til you’re too dizzy to argue about the spelling of your name or the correct sequence of numbers in your social security number anymore. Transfer this kind of nonchalance to your medical information, and it may do more than put a stain on your credit rating, it just might kill you.

Convenience VS. Security and Privacy

Although these types of implantable computer chips and wireless medical implants with medical information may offer many practical conveniences, I doubt they will be worth the final price in terms of loss of personal security and privacy from hackers, spoofers, stalkers, thieves and perhaps even the government.

Not to mention the fact that RFID implants have been found to cause cancer

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