Yes, it is possible to kill someone through a computer attack . This is how emphatic and direct this statement is. It is not necessary to digress if we have the necessary means to carry it out or if these are available to any of us. In any case, the answer is still yes. Surely, this seems taken from some chapter with little grace of Black Mirror , but the reality is that measures are already being taken to avoid situations of this type .
In 2008, researchers from the universities of Washington and Massachusetts managed to hack into a pacemaker and, worse still, manipulate its functions.
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We only have to look back a few years to realize it. Specifically, in 2008, Popular Science magazine revealed something that would provoke some other political reaction:Researchers from the universities of Washington and Massachusetts had successfully hacked into a pacemaker and, even worse, tampered with its functions. What does this mean? Well, in this way, it would be possible to modify its speeds , to the point of accelerating or stopping it suddenly, thus ending the life of its wearer.
Dick Cheney , the US vice president, had to reach the same conclusion , who immediately ordered to disable the Wi-Fi connection of his own to avoid a future hack that could kill him. But it is not the only possible way. There are others, even, that are more radical. This was advanced four years later by Barnaby Jack , a 35-year-old famous hacker known for spreading ways to kill a man 10 meters away by electronically interfering with several of the devices that keep him alive. How? Causing electric shocks .
Following the controversial statements by Jack, who died in July 2013 just before the Black Hat celebration in Las Vegas, similar versions began to appear, as well as many others that put the security systems of hospitals and medical centers in check. Such was the case of cybercriminals who could access the private records of each patient,know the drugs administered to each of them and, later, change them for others that could negatively affect their health. In order, of course, to cause adverse reactions incompatible with life.
Although all this sounds like science fiction, the truth is that today there are great systems of protection in health institutions that make us believe that the chances of these situations occurring are very slim. But we must not forget that many of the objects that we usually use are susceptible to being manipulated through the internet . The most extreme case is the one demonstrated, just a decade ago, by a group of engineers from the University of Birmingham: it is possible to open and start cars without using the original keys and, even more, to access the navigation system. This would imply that it would be possible to accelerate its engine to the hacker’s taste and even disable its brakes.a