465,000 pacemakers vulnerable to hacking need a firmware fix

September 5, 2017

An acquaintance of mine told me he received a notification from his doctor about cybersecurity vulnerabilities in his pacemaker. He’s not alone, considering the FDA issued an alert about security flaws in 465,000 pacemakers which use radio frequency communications and came from Abbott (formerly St. Jude Medical).

The “fix” is not a surgical replacement pacemaker, but a firmware update which takes about three minutes to complete and carries a “very low risk of update malfunction;” a very small percentage of people might experience a “complete loss of device functionality” during the firmware update. The patch covers St. Jude Medical’s pacemakers: Accent, Anthem, Accent MRI, Accent ST, Assurity and Allure.

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