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The type of sensors that pick up the rhythm of a beating heart in implanted cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers are vulnerable to tampering, according to a new study involving University of Michigan researchers and others in an international team. In experiments in simulated human models, the researchers demonstrated that they could forge an erratic heartbeat with radio frequency electromagnetic waves. Theoretically, a false signal like the one they created could inhibit needed pacing or induce unnecessary defibrillation shocks.

The researchers emphasize that they know of no case where a hacker has corrupted an implanted cardiac device, and doing so in the real world would be extremely difficult. They stress that people with pacemakers and defibrillators can remain confident in the safety and effectiveness of their implants.

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Security Risks in the Sensors of Implantable Medical Devices

5/16/2013

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MconneX - The type of sensors that pick up the rhythm of a beating heart in implanted cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers are vulnerable to tampering, according to a new study involving University of Michigan researchers and others in an international team.

MconneX - The type of sensors that pick up the rhythm of a beating heart in implanted cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers are vulnerable to tampering, according to a new study involving University of Michigan researchers and others in an international team.

STORY: Security Risks in the Sensors of Implantable Medical Devices

 


About the Professor

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Research Associate Professor Kevin Fu. Photo: Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications and MarketingKevin Fu is is an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan College of Engineering. His research interests include making embedded computer systems smarter with better security and safety, reduced energy consumption, and faster performance.

About Michigan Engineering: The University of Michigan College of Engineering is one of the top engineering schools in the country. Eight academic departments are ranked in the nation's top 10 -- some twice for different programs. Its research budget is one of the largest of any public university. Its faculty and students are making a difference at the frontiers of fields as diverse as nanotechnology, sustainability, healthcare, national security and robotics. They are involved in spacecraft missions across the solar system, and have developed partnerships with automotive industry leaders to transform transportation. Its entrepreneurial culture encourages faculty and students alike to move their innovations beyond the laboratory and into the real world to benefit society. Its alumni base of more than 75,000 spans the globe.

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