Recall: Pacemakers vulnerable to hacks

Pacemakers vulnerable to hacks
Posted at 11:28 AM, Sep 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 10:58:53-04

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Imagine the terror of a medical device keeping you alive becoming compromised by someone you do not know. A recent recall says half a million pacemakers could be hacked.

Cardiologists recognize that this is terrifying news for patients but they should not worry. Patients should simply call their doctor.

"This is not a serious situation that they need to worry so much about," said Mercy Health led cardiologist  Dr. Ameer Kabour. "They are suggesting that your pacemaker could be hacked, and it doesn't mean someone could log in and stop it or change the settings."

The U.S Food and Drug Administration issued a voluntary recall of pacemakers sold by Abbott Laboratories impacting around a half million patients in the US. And a fix to the problem is now available.

"They may require an office visit," Dr. Kabour said. "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. So its a minor, minor issue."

As of right now there are no reports of pacemaker hackings.

The Department of Homeland security says a person with the specific pacemaker would need to be in close range of a hacker launching an attack.

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