Death by Wifi? Wireless Medication Implant Could Get Hacked

By Rachel Cernansky | February 10, 2009 6:53 pm

pills1.jpgA new device for people who have trouble swallowing pills looks like it might become more of a health hazard than a medical savior. The Remote Intelligent Drug Delivery System (RIDDS), the latest in pill technology, relies on electronic implants to dispense medication automatically or via a wireless medical network. Ultimately, RIDDS will have built-in sensors to monitor the biomarkers of a patient’s symptoms—such as pulse rate or blood oxygen level—and health care workers will use wireless control to monitor the patient and adjust the device or medication accordingly.

Researchers, however, warn that serious security risks are involved. Because current wireless communication technology is inherently vulnerable to hacking, the new device can be tampered with.

This could mean anything from the theft of a patient’s personal data to the altering of a patient’s sensor readings. Worst-case scenario: the RIDDS connection is hijacked to release medication inappropriately, with potentially fatal consequences for the patient.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Edible EKGs? New Pill Can Measure Your Heart Rate

Image: iStockphoto

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