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Abbott Laboratories offers fix for 745 000 pacemakers vulnerable to hacking

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4190 (Published 07 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4190
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Three quarters of a million patients around the world use pacemakers with cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could potentially be sabotaged remotely by hackers with radiofrequency equipment, the US Food and Drug Administration has warned.

A non-invasive firmware patch should resolve the problem, said Abbott Laboratories, which took on responsibility for these devices when it bought their manufacturer, St Jude Medical, earlier this year.

But Abbott has not disclosed how many of the implantable cardiac devices were sold in Britain, saying only that “we are in discussions with regulatory bodies in the UK on next steps.”

The FDA said that 465 000 of the pacemakers are implanted in US patients, and Abbott acknowledged that a further …

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