This won’t be the last time we see headlines like “465,000 Pacemakers Need a Firmware Update” as more of our medical lives become intertwined with technology. However, technology is the human exploration of advancing our own tools, so there’s good with the bad.
But for those of you who don’t like to upgrade your mobile phones, you might want to start learning to love software and firmware patches and updates. Security threats are a real risk whether it’s your Facebook account, your bank account… or your heart.
The devices must be given a firmware update to protect them against a set of critical vulnerabilities, first reported by MedSec, which could drain pacemaker battery life, allow attackers to change programmed settings, or even change the beats and rhythm of the device.
On Tuesday, the FDA issued a security advisory, warning that the pacemakers must be recalled — and as they are embedded within the chests of their users, this requires a home visit or trip to the hospital to have the software patch applied.