Patient vitals vulnerable to hacking

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Patient vitals vulnerable to hackingA McAfee security researcher has recently revealed that hackers are able to falsify patients’ vitals by taking advantage of weak communications protocol between the patient monitoring equipment itself, and the central monitoring system.

At DEF CON 26 security conference, researcher Douglas McKee explained that he managed to reverse engineer the protocol and send incorrect information to the central monitoring system. A variation of this attack can be done through being on the same network, rather than having physical access to the patient.

McKee warns that even subtle changes in the information being sent can lead to incorrect diagnosis or prescriptions, or even extended hospital stays.

Although a highly complex attack and therefore one not likely to be proliferated en masse, McKee’s presentation points to a larger trend in medicine; namely how technology is beginning to create new and complex risks.