Heart Pacemaker Vulnerable to Wireless Hackers

The concept of self control takes on new meaning

Inebriated Press
March 14, 2008

The New York Times reported Wednesday that computer security researchers have been able to gain wireless access to a Medtronic heart devise that uses wireless signals to allow doctors to monitor patients.  Reportedly there are thousands of Americans with implanted pacemakers, including U.S. vice president Dick Cheney.  Not all units respond to wireless transmissions so not everyone is vulnerable to hackers, but some people clearly are.  Experts say other technologies attached or implanted into humans may also be at risk to hackers.

“I’ve got a twin cylinder penile prosthesis that goes haywire when my neighbor changes TV channels with her remote.  I’ve wrecked two pair of pants and lost my best friend,” said Dick Wrangler, a retired porn actor and hydraulics specialist.  “I’m supposed to get a pacemaker to keep my heart in rhythm but I’m terrified about what hackers and TV channel changers might do to me.  I’ve done some wild shit in my life, but having other folks controlling what my body parts are doing creeps me out.”

Technologists say antivirus software and extra Vitamin E is enough to protect us.  “As long as manufacturers of prosthesis and pacemaker devises incorporate encryption and anti-spam programs into their wireless communication technology, everything should be just fine,” said technologist and aerospace engineer Murphy Brown, a soft porn aficionado who is looking forward to new wireless devises that can do anything.  “I use Tamiflu to fight viral bio infections and Norton for anti-virus technological issues.  I have a pacemaker myself and other than a little spam getting through which gives me the urge to buy hair growth products and order male enhancement tablets, I’m doing okay.  Now if I can program the software to avoid investment scams maybe I’ll be able to rebuild my 401k.”

The researchers reported that they were able to gain wireless access to a Medtronic combination heart defibrillator and pacemaker.  Their paper summarizing the research is called “Pacemakers and Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators: Software Radio Attacks and Zero-Power Defenses.”  They said that the long list of objects vulnerable to attack by computer hackers now includes the human heart.  They were able to glean personal patient data by eavesdropping on signals from the tiny wireless radio that Medtronic had embedded in the implant as a way to let doctors monitor and adjust it without surgery.  They said that they may also have been able to issue commands and make adjustments like the patients doctor.  The researchers said the test results suggest that too little attention is being paid to security in the growing number of medical implants being equipped with communications capabilities.  Doctors and healthcare advocates urged that patients not be alarmed by the discussion of security flaws saying that they were still better off living with them than without.

“People are way ahead having machines wired into their bodies even if they have no control over them,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former body builder and actor who played a humanoid machine from the future before he quit having fun and became governor of California.  “Sure there’s a chance that you’ll be held hostage by hackers who can kill you by typing some code if you don’t pay them off or attack a foreign country, or even make you get an erection during an important press conference.  But these are minor side affects when compared to the better life that you can live with hard wired bio-machine parts and mass quantities of Vitamin E.  Believe me; I know what I’m talking about.  I’ve been in movies about this stuff.”

In other news, Gilligan’s Island actress Dawn Wells who played the character Mary Ann pleaded guilty to marijuana use and being under the influence while driving.  She was sentenced to six months probation.  According to police reports she said erroneous wireless transmissions caused her to smoke pot against her will.  She is planning a three-hour boat tour to relax and “get away for a while.”

(C) 2008 InebriatedPress.com

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