Most alleged Internet crimes are based on some form of financial fraud or related to a sex or pornography charge or stalking. Hacking can cause many types of angst, embarrassment and inconvenience to its targets. But rarely do you hear of someone dying as a result of Internet hacking.
A new type of Internet crime is the focus of an investigation by the Federal Drug Administration. “Medjacking” refers to a hacker’s ability to interfere with the remote delivery of medication through a medical device that is controlled through a computer. The possibility of such a crime occurring is so real that even the Department of Homeland Security is involved.
The specific device under the microscope is an infusion pump that remotely delivers medication to a patient on a schedule determined by a hospital’s computer system. As with almost any computer system, the hospital’s may be vulnerable to hacking. And hacking the delivery system of the medication could result in serious medical issues or even death without the hospital or the patient having any idea of how it occurred.
Until now, if someone wanted to cause serious injury to another person, there generally had to be some form of personal interaction. But now, a weak firewall, or an outdated one that hasn’t been programmed to anticipate such cyberattacks, can lead to death. Under this theory, a wife who wants to inherit her husband’s insurance policy no longer has to hire a hitman with a gun, but just a hacker with a keyboard.
While no reports of actual injury have been found in New Jersey or any other state, the risk is so real that the FDA has recommended that hospitals no longer use the product. And, as an added layer of protection, the manufacturer is offering patients who have already been equipped with the devices additional security against hacking.
Cybercrimes can be serious offenses but sometimes the end results were not intended by the person charged with the crime. Third parties can hack another person’s technology to cause harm another person without the knowledge of either victim. If you have been charged with computer or Internet-based crime that either you didn’t commit or that had consequences you hadn’t intended, contact an attorney familiar with state and federal cybercrime laws to discuss your rights.