Pacemakers designed in the United States, security breached and Hacked

Pacemakers designed in the United States (HACKED)

Pacemakers designed in the United States

A security breach has been discovered in the software of some pacemakers, designed in the United States.

Tests have shown that it is possible to take control of the pacemaker, in particular by modifying the heart rate of the wearer.

To avoid any risk, the main US health authority is asking the carriers of the affected models to go to the hospital, in order to carry out a software update of their device.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US federal agency for food and pharmaceutical surveillance, decided to conduct a “special” recall at the end of August.

An increased risk
A security breach has been discovered in the software of some cardiac pacemakers developed by St Jude Medical, resulting in an increased risk of piracy.

On its website, the agency asks the bearers of certain models of pacemakers to go to a hospital center or to their doctor, in order to have an update of their device.

40,000 patients in France

In total, nine models of pacemakers would have flaws. These are the Accent SR RF ™, Accent MRI ™, Assurity ™, Assurance MRI ™, Accent DR RF ™, Anthem RF ™, Allure RF ™, Allure Quadra RF ™ and Quadra Allure MP RF ™.

In France, more than 40 000 people would be equipped, 500 000 in the United States.

According to the investigation conducted by the FDA, the weaknesses observed would allow “access to the device using commercially available equipment.

This access would make it possible to modify the controls of the pacemaker, which could harm the patient “. However, no malicious acts have been reported so far.

Changing the patient’s heart rate

They were scientists from the University of Louvain (Belgium) who managed to hack the pacemakers. “We demonstrated that a pirate could easily fly the pacemaker using a craft antenna and a computer, which is, of course, dangerous,” says Belgian cardiologist Rik Willems.

The patient may in fact modify the rhythm regulated by the stimulator, or the anticipated emptying of the battery of the device.

According to the FDA, there is no need for “full product replacement”. The “adjustment” necessary to correct this unfortunate defect therefore does not imply a new operation.

The update is done in a few minutes in the hospital.

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