Summary Box: Diabetics vulnerable to hack attacks

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THE THREAT: Medical devices that increasingly have capabilities to transmit vital health information from a patient’s body to doctors and other professionals. Some devices can be remotely controlled by medical professionals.

THE FINDINGS: A security researcher who is diabetic has identified flaws in his equipment. It could allow an attacker to remotely control insulin pumps and alter the readouts of blood-sugar monitors. As a result, diabetics could get too much or too little insulin.

INDUSTRY RESPONSE: Device makers say such attacks are unlikely to occur in the real world. They say there’s greater risk to patients in not monitoring their conditions.