Are these devices really open to hacking? It is difficult, but it can be done. To actually hack a device though it took scientists familiar with the technology and units to give it a try and it could be done, but one of the features of of the units is the fact that the transmitter and receiver have to be in very close proximity to the patient, thus a hacker would theoretically have to be very close to be within the range of the data packets being transferred. Hopefully soon, encryption can enter the picture to ensure better safety, but if longer distances are created for transmission in the current state of technology, that would increase the availability of hacking, but the benefits still far outweigh the downside here in the fact that if you needed such a device the other alternative could be…well I think we could perhaps figure that one out. BD
“They were able to change the patient's name as recorded in the device, reset the internal clock, and make changes in therapy. The researchers were able to turn off the therapy mode, preventing the device from responding to a life-threatening arrhythmia. More seriously, they were able to set the ICD to deliver a shock that could induce a dangerous, and perhaps deadly, heart rhythm.”
Pacemakers. A pacemaker is designed to monitor and record heart rate. When the device senses the heart is beating too fast, slow or erratically, it sends a low-energy electrical signal to "pace" the heart back into a normal rhythm.
Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD). An ICD also monitors heart rate. However, it is usually reserved for patients with dangerous heart rhythm problems. When an abnormal rhythm is detected, the ICD will first send a low-energy electrical pulse to try to correct the problem. If that doesn't work, or if a life-threatening rhythm is detected, an ICD emits a high-energy electrical pulse, or shock, to jump-start the heart into a normal pattern of beating.
Implanted Drug Pumps. Drug infusion pumps are designed to automatically provide small amounts of drugs directly into the body, eliminating the need for regular injections of medication. Some pumps are programmed to provide a prescribed amount of medication at pre-set times. Other pumps (such as insulin pumps) can be controlled by the patient to deliver an extra dose of medication when needed.
Neurostimulators. Neurostimulators are devices that provide a small electrical signal to the brain or spinal cord. They are used in a number of different applications, like epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and pain control.