The Challenges of Implanted Cardiac Device Security: Lessons From Recent Compromises

G. Stuart Mendenhall


Europace. 2019;21(4):535-538. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Implanted cardiac devices, primarily consisting of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), pacemakers, and implantable loop recorders, are capable of recording physiological signals from the body that may provide health status and numerous other information about habits. Never in history has this amount of physiological and cardiac data been generated and recorded regarding humans and their behaviours through these implanted devices, and as these devices become increasingly inexpensive and indications for use increase, this generated data will be a valuable source for research, monitoring, and potential commercial use. Additionally, more lives are dependent on the proper functioning of the devices, as they also become more connected with remote access and possible re-programming of functionality. With the functionality and data stores, the techniques for securing information and protecting patient privacy must be continuously and expertly maintained, as a single point of compromise, whether on the device itself, through its communication protocols, or in online storage, may affect all patients and users of the device.