Listen to Your Heart: Security and Privacy of Implantable Cardio Foo

Christoph Saatjohann e7p

Playlists: 'rc3-2021' videos starting here / audio

We analyzed the ​security of the environment around heart pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, and heart monitors.
We also took the hard way to get our data from manufacturers and hospitals with EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) inquiries.

Modern implantable cardiologic devices communicate via radio frequency techniques and nearby gateways to a backend server on the internet. Those implanted devices, gateways, and servers form an ecosystem of proprietary hardware and protocols that process sensitive medical data and is often vital for patients’ health.

This talk gives an overview about the security of this ecosystem, from technical gateway aspects, via the programmer, to configure the implanted device, up to the processing of personal medical data from large cardiological device producers. Based on a real-world attacker model, we evaluated different devices and found several severe vulnerabilities. Furthermore, we could purchase a fully functional programmer for implantable cardiological devices, allowing us to re-program such devices or even induce electric shocks on untampered implanted devices.

Additionally, we sent several General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR, ger: DSGVO) inquiries to manufacturers of implantable cardiologic devices and hospitals, revealing non-conforming processes and a lack of awareness about patients’ rights and companies’ obligations. This, and the fact that many vulnerabilities are still to be found after many vulnerability disclosures in recent years, present a worrying security state of the whole ecosystem.


These files contain multiple languages.

This Talk was translated into multiple languages. The files available for download contain all languages as separate audio-tracks. Most desktop video players allow you to choose between them.

Please look for "audio tracks" in your desktop video player.