Vulnerabilities in Medtronic Product Can Allow Hackers to Control Cardiac Devices

Vulnerabilities discovered in Medtronic’s MyCareLink Smart 25000 Patient Reader product could be exploited to take control of a paired cardiac device.

Designed to obtain information from a patient’s implanted cardiac device, the MCL Smart Patient Reader then sends the data to the Medtronic CareLink network, to facilitate care management, through the patient’s mobile device.

Three vulnerabilities discovered by researchers at IoT security firm Sternum in the MCL Smart Model 25000 Patient Reader could be exploited to modify or fabricate data that is transmitted from the implanted patient device to the CareLink network. Medtronic MyCareLink Smart vulnerabilities

Furthermore, they could allow an attacker to execute code remotely on the MCL Smart Patient Reader, essentially taking control of the paired cardiac device. Exploitation of the flaws, however, requires for the attacker to be within Bluetooth range of the vulnerable product.

Tracked as CVE-2020-25183 (CVSS score of 8.0), the first of the bugs is an authentication protocol issue that allows an attacker to bypass the method used to authenticate between the MCL Smart Patient Reader and the Medtronic MyCareLink Smart mobile app.

“This vulnerability enables an attacker to use another mobile device or malicious application on the patient’s smartphone to authenticate to the patient’s Medtronic Smart Reader, fooling the device into believing it is communicating with the original Medtronic smart phone application when executed within range of Bluetooth communication,” CISA notes in an advisory.

Tracked as CVE-2020-25187 and featuring a CVSS score of 8.8, the second flaw is triggered when an authenticated attacker runs a debug command sent to the patient reader. This could cause a heap overflow, resulting in remote code execution, potentially allowing the attacker to control the device.

Also with a CVSS score of 8.8, the third vulnerability (CVE-2020-27252) is a race condition that could be leveraged to upload and execute unsigned firmware on the Patient Reader. This could allow an attacker to remotely execute code, thus taking control of the device.

Medtronic has already released a firmware update to address the vulnerabilities, and it can be applied via the MyCareLink Smart app through the associated mobile app store. Updating the application (to version 5.2.0 or higher) also ensures that the Patient Reader is automatically updated on next use. The company has published step-by-step details on how to apply the update.

As additional mitigation steps, Medtronic has implemented Sternum’s enhanced integrity validation (EIV) technology and advanced detection system technology, which allow it to detect vulnerabilities and monitor for anomalous device activity.

“To date, no cyberattack, no unauthorized access to patient data, and no harm to patients has been observed with these vulnerabilities,” Medtronic explains.

Related: DHS Warns of Vulnerabilities in Medtronic Defibrillators

Related: FDA Approves Use of New Tool for Medical Device Vulnerability Scoring

Related: Unprotected Medical Systems Expose Data on Millions of Patients

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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