Back at the 2018 Black Hat conference it was revealed by security researchers Billy Rios and Jonathan Butts that a HackRF could be used to take control of a Medtronic insulin pump. Back then FDA advisories were issued, but recently a new warning noting that Medtronic MiniMed 508 and Paradigm series insulin pumps could be vulnerable to wireless attacks was again issued. The vulnerabilities could allow hackers to wireless cause the device to deliver excessive amounts of insulin or stop insulin delivery.
Apparently the vulnerabilities cannot be fixed with a software update, so Medtronic have issued a voluntary recall, asking customers to contact their healthcare providers so that they can upgrade to their newer units which are more secure (although these newer units are not available everywhere outside the USA). We also note that Medtronic implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) which appear to share the same vulnerability do not appear to have been recalled. For both the insulin pumps and ICDs, the issues stem from the fact that the "Conexus" wireless protocol used in the products do not use encryption, authentication or authorization.
Security researchers Billy Rios, Jonathan Butts, and Jesse Young found that the wireless radio communications used between a vulnerable MiniMed pump uses and its CareLink controller device was insecure. An attacker who was in close enough physical proximity to the pump could masquerade as a CareLink unit, and send potentially life-threatening commands to the insulin pump over the air using a software-defined radio or similar kit.
"The vulnerabilities affect the radio features," Rios told The Register. "They use a custom radio protocol and the vulnerabilities were exploited through the use of software-defined radios."
Previously we also posted about how an RTL-SDR could be used to sniff RF data packets from a Minimed Insulin pump using the rtlmm software, and back in 2016 we posted how data could be sniffed from an implanted defibrillator.
In May 2018, an external security researcher notified Medtronic of a potential security vulnerability with the MiniMedTM Paradigm™ family of insulin pumps and corresponding remote controller. We assessed the vulnerability and today issued an advisory, which was reviewed and approved by the FDA, ICS-CERT and Whitescope.
This vulnerability impacts only the subset of users who use a remote controller to deliver the Easy Bolus™ to their insulin pump. In the advisory, as well as through notifications to healthcare professionals and patients, we communicate some precautions that users of the remote controller can take to minimize risk and protect the security of their pump.
As part of our commitment to customer safety and device security, Medtronic is working closely with industry regulators and researchers to anticipate and respond to potential risks. In addition to our ongoing work with the security community, Medtronic has already taken several concrete actions to enhance device security and will continue to make significant investments to improve device security protection.
In addition to this wireless hack they also revealed issues with Medtronic's pacemaker, where they found that they could hack it via compromised programming hardware, and cause it to deliver incorrect shock treatments.
Earlier in the year we also posted about how an RTL-SDR could be used to sniff RF data packets from a Minimed Insulin pump using the rtlmm software, and back in 2016 we posted how data could be sniffed from an implanted defibrillator.