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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Hacker?

BigBadWolfIt's a fact of life that bad things happen.  There are people out there who don’t even know you, yet are looking to do you harm. Trust me, I know that all too well.  And yes, I tend to be pretty paranoid and generally afraid.  But I believe in taking necessary precautions and living life.

There is a lot of buzz in the media about pump hackers.  Yes, the bottom line is that an insulin pump can be hacked.  My laptop can also be hacked.  It’s probably pretty unlikely that someone would want to hack into my boring little computer, but I still have precautions in place such as a secure network and firewalls to help keep me safe.  The same thing goes for my pump.  It’s pretty unlikely someone would want to waste their time giving me a bolus or suspending my pump, but if they did there are status screens and audible beeps on my Medtronic pump that would keep me safe and let me know someone was fiddling with my pump.

The bottom line is that I’m pretty sure hackers have larger targets in sight than me.  I can’t say I’m all that worried about someone wasting their time and talent on my little insulin pump.  What does scare me - a lot - is what this news and the panic it can create might do to my future treatment options.  I wrote last month about my hopes of having my pump, meter, CGM and iPhone all connected and talking to each other.  It doesn’t seem like a stretch for an engineer to be able to make this happen.  What scares me is that the sensationalism surrounding this pump hacking story will cause the FDA to put the brakes on these kinds of advancements even more than they already have.  And that threat of stagnation to diabetes technology?  Well yes, that has me very afraid.

12 comments:

  1. Excellent post on this topic! Can't wait to see you tonight.

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  2. Thanks Erin, can't wait to see you too!!! :)

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  3. Great post Karen! I too am hoping this doesn't slow down getting new technology out to us. It is already slow enough!

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  4. Great post, my friend! I echo your thoughts... and LOVE the blog title there. That one has me smiling, and feeling all Little Red Riding Hood-y. Ironically, I'm not wearing my pump today... so if someone really wanted to get at it, this would be the time! But I'm not a spec on the radar for those "big bad hackers"... :)) Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

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  5. spot on Karen!! someone hacking my pump doesn't worry me, but the "threat of stagnation to diabetes technology" has me very afraid too! 8\

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  6. What the mainstream doesn't realize is that my body "hacks" my insulin delivery all the time:

    Suspend mode - no, but bent cannula/leaky cartridge/dead insulin/mystery hormone levels? Been there, done that. At least suspend mode beeps.

    Altered bolus - hello? carb guessing? Stupid DD lady adding sugar to my coffee without my asking? Again, bolusing makes a noise, even if all alarms turned off.

    I find it hard to believe even if, say, someone wanted to kill me and got hold of my pump serial number and hacked into it, (and turned on my remote feature, which I turned off as a useless battery eating waste of time) I wouldn't catch it.

    Diabetes delivers its own surprises every day, I don't turn my back on that tiger for very long.

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  7. Val - AWESOME COMMENT, you make some very valid and important points there! You are right, our diabetes is hacked all the time and we are monitoring the situation so much that it's highly unlikely anyone would be unaware of a pump hack for very long.

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  8. Outstand-O-Matic post my friend!

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  9. Great post Karen!! I'm glad so many of you are all posting on this topic. I think it's so ignorant of Jay to do this, especially as a pumper. I too am not afraid of someone hacking my pump. Any pump user knows their device better than any electronic geek(no judging promise, i'm married to a computer one!!)knows their computer or device. I just hope like you Karen, this doesn't post a problem with the FDA to continue getting upgrades and new technology for us T1's that need more advancements.. Thanks again Karen lady!!:)

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  10. agree with everything here, you go!

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  11. wow. I had no idea that it's so easy for anyone, even a doctor hack into our insulin pumps? what the heck? what is their purpose to hack into the insulin pump? I'd be afraid too if that was happening to me, or anyone that has a insulin pump. I'm quite protective of diabetic fellows.

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