I'm not Scared of My Insulin Pump, Are You?

So a "security expert" (read: hacker with a salary) who is also a diabetic, found a way to hack his pump and CGM. Rather than approach the pump companies "partly out of fear for his own safety," he revealed his findings at the Black Hat security conference. In other words, he wanted his hacker friends to be impressed. Strange that he feared for his safety yet titled his talk, "Hacking Medical Devices for Fun & Insulin."

Read about it here.

I don't mean to downplay whatever security flaw there is. Radcliffe's right - these devices shouldn't be easily compromised. Still, in saying, "It would only take one person to do this to kill someone and then you have a catastrophe," he neglects to think about the potential negative impact of what he has done:

1.) The FDA in the US is notoriously slow in approving devices for diabetes, despite the fact that these devices enhance care, improve lives and, by association, save lives. Radcliffe's news will only slow the speed at which future devices get approved. And while the devices may be safer, it's seems to me the greater good is to have MORE lifesaving devices in the market now.

2.) Misunderstandings about diabetes are commonplace. Today on Yahoo, you can't read about insulin pumps being lifesavers. Instead, you can only read about them being "vulnerable to hacking." That's a shame and won't help people to understand diabetes or insulin pumps better.

Congratulations on getting on the stage at Black Hat, Jay Radcliffe. I hope it was worth it.


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