I have been warning you about the dangers posed by the Internet of things for a long time. As more and more of the things we use become connected to the Internet including but certainly not limited to cars, refrigerators, coffee makers and thermostats, it becomes tremendously convenient, for example, for us to use our smart phones to program our thermostats from afar so that our homes will have the proper temperature when we return from a day at work. But every technological advance regardless of how constructive it may seem has the potential to be exploited by scammers, hackers and identity thieves. Among the items that are a part of the Internet of Things are also medical devices both wearable and implanted. Security was not a concern when these networked devices were created and the concern about the ability of these devices being able to be manipulated is very real. Generally they have lacked security measures for control of the device and authentication of those having access to the devices. In addition, they may be transmitting large amounts of sensitive data in an unencrypted manner. Now the Food and Drug Administration has finally released guidelines on cybersecurity for medical devices. The FDA is recommending to manufacturers that they consider cybersecurity risks when designing and manufacturing medical devices that are a part of the Internet of things. Medical devices that are a part of the Internet of things should be manufactured as to require authentication to access the device and should all data being transferred to and from the device should be encrypted.
As for us, the patients, it is incumbent upon us to insist that our medical care providers prove to us that our Internet of things medical devices are secure before we agree to use any such devices.