Reverse-Engineered Pacemaker Transmitter Enables ‘Anonymous Assassination’, Mass Murder from Firmware UpdatePosted on Oct 18, 2012 in Health, Food News, & Big Pharma, Science & Technology
IOActive researcher Barnaby Jack has reverse-engineered a pacemaker transmitter to make it possible to deliver deadly electric shocks to pacemakers within 30 feet and rewrite their firmware.
The effect of the wireless attacks could not be overstated — in a speech at the BreakPoint security conference in Melbourne today, Jack said such attacks were tantamount to “anonymous assassination”, and in a realistic, but worse-case scenario, “mass murder”.
In a video demonstration, which Jack declined to release publicly because it may reveal the name of the manufacturer, he issued a series of 830 volt shocks to the pacemaker using a laptop.
The pacemakers contained a “secret function” which could be used to activate all pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) in a 30 foot -plus vicinity.
Each device would return model and serial numbers.
“With that information, we have enough information to authenticate with any device in range,” Jack said.
In reverse-engineering the terminals – which communicate with the pacemakers – he discovered no obfuscation efforts and even found usernames and passwords for what appeared to be the manufacturer’s development server.
That data could be used to load rogue firmware which could spread between pacemakers with the “potential to commit mass murder”.
“The worst case scenario that I can think of, which is 100 percent possible with these devices, would be to load a compromised firmware update onto a programmer and … the compromised programmer would then infect the next pacemaker or ICD and then each would subsequently infect all others in range,” Jack said.
Tiny URL for this post: http://tinyurl.com/8vndecg