Owners of implantable defibrillators beware: Computer hackers can attack the devices that control your heartbeat. The Wall Street Journal reports that a physician and some computer scientists proved that it’s possible to hack into a Medtronic Maximo, an implantable cardiodefibrillator. The implantable devices are used to manage tachyarrhythmia, a cardiac ailment that involves rapid beating of the heart.
Like many other such devices, the Maximo can be programmed via RF signals from outside the body – a process that’s good for patients because doctors can access the implanted devices without cutting through the patient’s skin. By hacking into them, however, outsiders could potentially steal medical data or affect the performance of the devices.
Five years ago, optical heart rate tracking seemed like an obvious successor to the popular chest straps used by many fitness buffs, but the technology has faced myriad engineering challenges on its way to market acceptance.
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