Can A Pacemaker Be Hacked?

Can A Pacemaker Be Hacked?

In the hit drama Homeland, a terrorist kills the vice president by hacking into his pacemaker, causing a fatal heart attack. But that plotline may not be far fetched.

Professional hacker Barnaby Jack said it's possible and he was set to reveal how at a Las Vegas hacking convention. In a shocking twist, just a week before the convention, the 35-year-old hacking expert was found dead by his girlfriend in his San Francisco home. As the medical examiner investigates the cause of death, police say they don't expect foul play but the internet has lit up with conspiracy theories.
One person wrote, "The CIA didn't want the competition."

Another wrote, "It does make me wonder, if he was killed, that the CIA and other government agencies don't want this flaw to be solved."

Barnaby Jack has been called the "ethical hacker", and he exposed computer vulnerabilities to corporations. At a 2010 Las Vegas convention he showed how easy it was to hack into an ATM and have it spit out money.

Robert Siciliano of McAfee Security told INSIDE EDITION, "As a consumer, we should always be aware that anything that is wireless, or anything that is connected to the internet in any way shape or form can, in fact, be hacked." 

At this year’s convention, he was ready to shock the world with his pacemaker demonstration. But it really possible?

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Chief Medical editor and the author of the book Tell Me the Truth, Doctor, told INSIDE EDITION, "At this point, there is no evidence that anyone has had harm or died from hacking into a pacemaker. But it is a real concern that it could happen."

The Food and Drug Administration issued this statement: "The FDA is not aware of any patient injuries or deaths associated with these incidents nor do we have any indication that any specific devices or systems in clinical use have been purposely targeted at this time."

Dr. Besser said, "Hacking in all areas of our life is getting more and more sophisticated, and this is an area that is so important that they put in controls so it does not happen."