St. Jude announces new protections against pacemaker hacking

A year after denying concerns raised by a short seller about the safety of its implantable heart devices, St. Jude Medical — now owned by Abbott Labs — announced updates to protect patients against sudden battery depletion and hacking.

It is the second such update since Abbott acquired St. Jude earlier this year.

“Abbott is resolving all old St. Jude Medical issues,” Abbott spokeswoman Candace Steele Flippin told The Post.

Activist firm Muddy Waters, run by short seller Carson Block, revealed a short position on St. Jude late last year, claiming the devices could be hacked. St. Jude promptly sued Muddy Waters in Minnesota court for defamation.

But in October, St. Jude had to recall some of its devices for a battery depletion defect.

Then, in January, St. Jude, under the control of Abbott, released a software patch for the devices after the Food and Drug Administration identified “cybersecurity vulnerabilities” that could allow hackers to deplete the pacemaker’s battery or deliver shocks. The FDA’s findings were consistent with Muddy Waters’ findings.

Nevertheless, litigation against Muddy Waters in ongoing. Abbott declined to discuss the matter further.


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