Outdated Medical Devices Could Mean Trouble For Patients

Written by: Francesco Trama | Published on: October 24th, 2016

About The Author

Francesco Trama
As Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Francesco is responsible for the overall operating performance, leading the strategic direction of the company’s products and solutions internally while building technical and business credibility externally as a market-facing thought leader.

In early October, over 100,000 diabetic patients received a notice from Johnson & Johnson that their insulin pumps are at risk of being attacked by various hackers. These hackers are now taking advantage of insulin pump devices by altering the dosage of insulin that is given to the patient.  The mistreat of insulin to any patient could lead to a series of problems for the user. As of 2015, there are over 400 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the world. Although there are different treatments for the different types of diabetes, almost all users of insulin pumps could potentially be at risk. The Animas OneTouch Ping, an 8 year old insulin pump designed and made by Johnson & Johnson, is at the forefront of the cyber terrorists attacks.

animas-pump.jpgDiabetic insulin pumps are not the only medical monitors being targeted. Other medical devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, radiation therapy machines, and patient monitors are all vulnerable to cyber attacks. As technology advances, so does the chances of cyber crime.  Many of these devices are being used in hospitals today.  Some are currently using outdated operating systems that were once top-rated systems of their time. With cyber security becoming more advanced and hackers on the rise, hospitals should be one of the first industries to upgrade their network infrastructure.

We believe Johnson & Johnson is one of many top-name companies being threatened by hackers and their “power”.  The growth rate of hacks within the medical field is alarming. Healthcare entities struggle with the organizational readiness for adopting information technologies over such short periods of time. Many of the small- or medium-sized health care organizations do not view IT as an integral part of medical care; but, rather consider it as a mandate that was forced on them by larger hospitals or the federal government. (US.News) When hackers begin to target innocent civilians with medical conditions, that’s when a data breach turns into an act of terrorism.