Sunday, November 05, 2017

Can heart pacemakers be used as assassination devices?

https://alcuinbramerton.blogspot.com/2017/10/can-heart-pacemakers-be-used-as.html
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Picture: Are heart pacemakers hacker-controlled assassination devices? https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HyduHF5H3zk/WS2ADBap-yI/AAAAAAAAI5s/ae0-Ze2htO8Al-OemkDzrs4i3NoBGkSTACLcB/s1600/Are%2Bsome%2Bheart%2Bpacemakers%2Baccidentally%2Bor%2Bintentionally%2Bdesigned%2Bto%2Bbe%2Bhacker-controlled%2Bassassination%2Bdevices%2B%2528question%2529.%2B%255BTwo%255D%2B%25231ab.jpg?SSImageQuality=Full
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In May 2017, WhiteScope, an American security research firm, carried out technical assessments of implantable cardiac devices, physician programmers and home monitoring devices for four major manufacturers of heart pacemakers.

8,000 software vulnerabilities were found in the computer code of the commonly-used heart pacemaker systems examined.

Engineers discovered a worrying consistency across all vendors, noticing in particular inherent system weaknesses in file system encryption and in the storage of unencrypted patient data.

The May 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, which reportedly infected a medical device in a US hospital as well as medical services in the US and the UK, highlighted the potential implications of software vulnerabilities in the health sector.

Earlier research had raised concerns about security flaws in cardiac devices such as the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and the pacemaker. WhiteScope's researchers found that they could easily obtain subsystems for the four major vendors through public auction sites such as Ebay.

A particular concern was the use of third party components: software that is sold by a company other than the original vendor. These components often have vulnerabilities which go unpatched.

As home monitoring devices receive updates to their permanent software, or firmware, via the patient-support network, a clear potential exists to perform man-in-the-middle attacks by issuing counterfeit firmware to the devices.

The system used in diagnosis and in programming the cardiac implants, which uses removable media/hard-drives, is at risk from hackers who could extract the file system.

The problem is not insoluble. Techniques such as firmware packing, obfuscation and encryption would make it much more difficult to reverse-engineer firmware.

Back in 2012, at the BreakPoint security conference in Melbourne (Australia), New Zealand Black Hat hacker Barnaby Jack famously demonstrated how to hack a heart pacemaker in order to deliver a deadly electric shock.

It seems that many heart pacemakers are de facto assassination devices waiting for a hacker to deliver a target-specific heart attack from a remote keyboard.

In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration published guidelines highlighting the security loopholes in various medical devices connected to the internet.

Potential assassination targets, including many major players in élite covert governance, if they use heart pacemakers at all, will only use them if they are not connected to the internet. A well-known example is Dick Cheney in the US. Another prominent American abstainer is thought to have been David Rockefeller. He is said to have had a total of seven heart transplants during his life, in order to avoid having to use a pacemaker ever.

Source here (28.05.17). Related references here, here and here.
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