St. Jude Updates Merlin@Home Transmitter After Hacking Concerns

Merlin@home transmitter receives updates.

Earlier this week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and St. Jude’s Medical issued a patch to the software of its Merlin@home Transmitter.

A new software update served to address some of the cyber security problems in St. Jude’s heart devices.

In an intense investigation, the FDA was able to confirm that hackers could remotely access the Merlin@home transmitter and modify the device and take control of it. Hackers could then use the transmitter to  reprogram the implant. There lies risks to create a faster battery depletion, incorrect pacing, unnecessary shocks, etc.

“As medical devices become increasingly interconnected via the Internet, hospital networks, other medical devices, and smartphones, there is an increased risk of exploitation of cyber security vulnerabilities, some of which could affect how a medical device operates,” the FDA said.

The company and the FDA have indicated that there are no proven cases of this happening.

In late 2016, there were reports that the Merlin@home transmitter used in monitoring certain St. Jude Medical implant devices could be hacked. These hacks could lead to deadly consequences for  the patient.

In order for patients to receive the update, they must make sure that the transmitter is plugged in and powered on, and that it’s connected to a land line or cellular service.