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Medtronic cardiac implants can be hacked, FDA issues alert

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about two dangerous security flaws affecting a number of implantable heart defibrillators and home monitoring systems manufactured by medical device giant Medtronic.

According to an alert put out last week, the flaws affect all models from 20 product families of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs), which are placed inside patients’ bodies to automatically counteract life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.

Discovered by a team of researchers in the Netherlands and the UK, the problem is with the inhouse wireless technology, Conexus, which the ICDs use for telemetry, configuration and to retrieve device info.

The vulnerabilities

In the first flaw, identified as CVE-2019-6538, it turned out that the Conexus wireless protocol has no authentication or authorization, which means that when the device’s radio was turned on an attacker could take control of the communication.

Having done that, there was nothing...(continued)

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