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Securing Wireless Neurostimulators

Implantable medical devices (IMDs) typically rely on proprietary protocols to wirelessly communicate with external device program- mers. In this paper, we fully reverse engineer the proprietary pro- tocol between a device programmer and a widely used commercial neurostimulator from one of the leading IMD manufacturers. For the reverse engineering, we follow a black-box approach and use in- expensive hardware equipment. We document the message format and the protocol state-machine, and show that the transmissions sent over the air are neither encrypted nor authenticated. Further- more, we conduct several software radio-based attacks that could compromise the safety and privacy of patients, and investigate the feasibility of performing these attacks in real scenarios.