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Certain Medtronic insulin pumps could be vulnerable to hacking

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Medtech[y] Staff

Medtronic is recalling certain insulin pumps because they could be vulnerable to hackers and pose a potential cybersecurity threat. The FDA also warned of the threat in a safety communication on Thursday. The affected models are the MiniMed 508 and Paradigm insulin pumps.

Medtronic has identified around 4,000 patients currently using the insulin pumps.

"The FDA has become aware that an unauthorized person (someone other than a patient, patient caregiver, or health care provider) could potentially connect wirelessly to a nearby MiniMed insulin pump with cybersecurity vulnerabilities. This person could change the pump’s settings to either over-deliver insulin to a patient, leading to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), or stop insulin delivery, leading to high blood sugar and diabetic ketoacidosis," the FDA notice says.

As Medtronic cannot update the MiniMed 508 and Paradigm insulin pump models to address these potential cybersecurity risks, Medtronic and the FDA are recommending patients replace the affected pumps with models that are better equipped to protect them from these risks.

While there haven't been any reported injuries related to the cybersecurity risks, there is the risk that an unauthorized person with special technical skills and equipment could potentially connect wirelessly to a nearby insulin pump to change settings and control insulin delivery.

To date, the FDA is not aware of any reports of patient harm related to these potential cybersecurity risks. Medtronic is recommending that patients speak with their healthcare provider about switching to a newer model with increase cybersecurity protection, such as the MiniMed 670G.

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