Abbott Laboratories has announced cybersecurity updates to its heart devices which now face life-threatening battery problems and other issues. Patients and doctors have been notified about the software update for the cardiac pacemakers manufactured by St. Jude Medical which was acquired by Abbott in January for $25 billion. This update will tighten security to prevent further cyberattacks which could potentially affect about 465,000 U.S patients.
This has been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration Department and the updating process will last about three minutes. The FDA recommends patients to get this update done though no cases of patients having been harmed are reported.
“These vulnerabilities, if exploited, could allow an unauthorized user (i.e. someone other than the patient’s physician) to access a patient’s device using commercially available equipment. This access could be used to modify programming commands to the implanted pacemaker, which could result in patient harm from rapid battery depletion or administration of inappropriate pacing,” the FDA warned.
The update also comes with a new alert to tackle battery problems which intends to notify doctors when the battery is about to run out after incidents of battery running out too quickly were reported. Abbott spokesman Jonathon Hamilton said in a statement, "These planned updates further strengthen the security and device management tools for our connected cardiac rhythm management devices.”