Alaap B. Shah, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in How-To Geek, in “Can Pacemakers (and Other Medical Devices) Really Be Hacked?” by Dave Johnson.

Following is an excerpt:

From pacemakers to smartwatches, we’re increasingly becoming a cybernetic species. That’s why recent headlines about vulnerabilities in implanted medical devices might set off alarm bells. Can your grandfather’s pacemaker really be hacked and, if so, what’s the real-world risk?

It’s a timely question. Yes, there are significant changes in medical technology afoot—implantable devices can now communicate wirelessly, and the coming medical Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing with it various wearable devices to keep healthcare providers and patients more connected. But a major medical device manufacturer has made headlines with not one, but two critical security vulnerabilities. …

The Industry Is Playing Catch-Up

At first glance, it might appear Medtronic is the poster child for clueless and dangerous security (the company didn’t respond to our request for comment on this story), but it’s far from alone. …

Alaap Shah, a lawyer who specializes in privacy, cybersecurity, and regulation in health care at Epstein Becker Green, explains: “Manufacturers have not historically developed products with security in mind.”

After all, in the past, to tamper with a pacemaker, you had to perform surgery. The entire industry is trying to catch up to technology and understand the security implications. A rapidly evolving ecosystem—like the medical IoT mentioned earlier—is putting new security stresses on an industry that’s never had to think about that before.

Jump to Page

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.