St Jude Medical announces Merlin cybersecurity updates

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St Jude Medical has announced that it will immediately deploy the latest release of cyber security updates for its Merlin remote monitoring system, used with implantable pacemakers and defibrillator devices.

According to a company release, the improvements include security updates that complement the company’s existing measures and further reduce the extremely low cyber security risks.

St Jude Medical reports that is not aware of any cyber security incidents related to one of its devices, however, “in recognition of the changing cyber security landscape and the increased public attention on highly unlikely medical device cyber risks” the company is informing the public about its ongoing actions so that patients can continue to be confident about the benefits of remote monitoring.

“There has been a great deal of attention on medical device security and it is critical that the entire industry continually enhances and improves security while bringing advanced care to patients,” says cyber security expert Ann Barron DiCamillo, former director of the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) and advisor to St Jude Medical’s Cyber Security Medical Advisory Board.

“We have partnered with agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Homeland Security Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) unit and are continuously reassessing and updating our devices and systems, as appropriate,” says Phil Ebeling, vice president and chief technology officer at St Jude Medical.

St Jude Medical has made seven software updates in three years to the Merlin@home transmitter, and it will immediately release its latest software update to the device. The update includes additional validation and verification between the Merlin@home device and Merlin.net. The company also plans to implement additional updates in 2017.

According to the release, patients should make sure that their Merlin@home unit is plugged in and connected via landline or cellular adapter so they can receive these and any future automatic security updates. Physicians or patients with any questions are advised to call the Merlin hotline at 1-877-MY-MERLIN (1-877-696-3754) or visit www.sjm.com/Merlin for more information.