Computer threat analysts demonstrates insulin pump hacking

A computer threat analyst yesterday demonstrated before a gathering of hackers how easily an insulin pump, on which a diabetic's life hinged, could hacked.

The demonstration by Jerome "Jay" Radcliffe at DefCon in Las Vegas highlighted the need for building a critical software defense into such medical gadget like pace makers, insulin pumps and others that now come computer chips to make them ''smart.''

According to hacker Brad Smith, who has specialised in hacking medical devices if one looked at the history of hacking medical devices, one could find worms and viruses were running rampant.

He added that the list of vulnerable gadgets included pace makers, intravenous pumps, and blood pressure cuffs.

Radcliffe who is 33, was diagnosed with diabetes about 11 years ago, and recently put his software skills to use to find out whether an insulin pump, trusted to keep his blood sugar levels safe, could be hacked. He found that he was able to toy remotely with dosage levels or turn the pump off.

According to Radcliffe, it turned out that with the model he was using there was no security.