Alert! Insulin Pump Cyber Security

Published On July 2, 2019 | By Tom Huskerson | Alerts

One of the biggest health problems in the black community is diabetes. And that problem is both helped and magnified by technology. The Food and Drug Administration is warning people using the Medtronic MiniMed insulin pumps that the devices are vulnerable to hacking.

The FDA has no evidence of the device being hacked…yet. But the warning clearly indicates this a growing health care cyber risk. Hackers could potentially change the pump’s settings causing dangerous fluctuations in the insulin delivery. The FDA advises patients using certain models of the pump to switch to less vulnerable ones.

Because of the seriousness of the issues Medtronic has issued a recall of MiniMed insulin pumps. The insulin pumps cannot be patched or updated. The device connects wirelessly to other insulin equipment including glucose meters, a monitoring system and controls that pump insulin. Therein lies the cyber security vulnerability.

The following devices are being recalled.

MiniMed™ 508All versions
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ 511All versions
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ 512/712All versions
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ 515/715All versions
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ 522/722All versions
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ 522K/722KAll versions
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ 523/723Version 2.4A or lower
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ 523K/723KVersion 2.4A or lower
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ 712E*All versions
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ Veo 554CM/754CM*Version 2.7A or lower
MiniMed™ Paradigm™ Veo 554/754*Version 2.6A or lower

FDA Recommendations

The FDA has issued the following recommendation for caregivers and people with diabetes.

  • Check to see if the model and software version of your insulin pump is affected. Read the Medtronic Patient LetterExternal Link Disclaimer to learn how to identify your pump’s software version. If you live outside the United States, Medtronic will send you a notification letter with instructions based on the country where you live.
  • Talk to your health care provider about a prescription to switch to a model with more cybersecurity protection.
  • If you have questions about replacing your pump, call Medtronic at 1-866-222-2584 or go to Medtronic’s websiteExternal Link Disclaimer

To minimize the potential risk of a cybersecurity attack while you are waiting for a replacement pump:

  • Keep your insulin pump and the devices that are connected to your pump within your control at all times whenever possible.
  • Do not share your pump serial number.
  • Be attentive to pump notifications, alarms, and alerts.
  • Monitor your blood glucose levels closely and act appropriately.
  • Immediately cancel any unintended boluses.
  • Connect your Medtronic insulin pump to other Medtronic devices and software only.
  • Disconnect the USB device from your computer when you are not using it to download data from your pump.

Get medical help right away if you:

  • Have symptoms of severe hypoglycemia (such as excessive sweating, feeling very tired, dizzy and weak, being pale, and a sudden feeling of hunger).
  • Have symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, feeling very tired and weak, shortness of breath).
  • Think your insulin pump settings or insulin delivery changed unexpectedly.

See also; App of Week – Spike

Black and Diabetic? There’s an App for That.

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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. Tom attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has also written both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and Tom is not the chief editor for the OnTechStreet. com. A news and information blog that focuses on tech news for African-Americans. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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