Death's Messengers

A hacking-based performative artwork designed to raise awareness about sub-par security regulation of personal health technologies.

Death's Messengers calls into question the current state of IT security systems within the medical industry as a provocative piece that confronts audiences, with the very real ramifications of such insufficient IT security, as it forces them to reflect on where we as a society place our priorities as new technologies continue to emerge and integrate themselves into our everyday lives.

Today, diabetes is one of the leading causes of death around the globe. For individuals living with Type 1 diabetes, it is vital that they receive insulin, injected into their bodies, on a regular basis in order to survive. Omnipod is a highly recommended, highly trusted, single-use product, designed to help with this process, by regulating a person's insulin intake over the course of 3 days. It is used by over 150,000 people, the number one prescribed insulin management system for children, and has been called the best Insulin Pump of 2020 on a budget.

The personal medical device is a closed system which up until this point in time, was thought to be completely secure from external influence.

Death’s Messengers shatters this understanding, whereby through the performance, audiences are able to experience, first hand, as these devices are hacked and taken over. An error within a hypocritical system designed to help save lives, that suddenly places one person's life unknowingly in the hands of someone else.

Through the work, audiences experience both the fear that hacks like these bring to people who have relied upon these personal medical technologies, that at any moment they could be killed; along with a different perspective of the role of hackers in our society, hacking flawed systems such as these in order to raise awareness, and warn people of their dangers, as a form of Death’s Messengers in their own right.

The mere fact that these highly trusted insulin pumps can be remotely hacked and controlled, is a rude awakening to the imbalance of regulation between our technological innovations. The work makes tangible the implications of failures in the IT security of medical corporations and the lives they put in jeopardy, calling into question the safety of the medical technologies that we entrust our lives with on a daily basis, and the standards to which they are produced.

Created in collaboration with Lyrebirds.

Omnipod Insulin Pump Hack Info:

Artwork:
Death’s Messengers

Artist:
Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm

Tech Development:
ARTificial Mind team: Alexander Krog, Jens Hegner Stærmose, Cody Lukas Anderson, Asbjørn Olling and Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm.

Hack Executed in Collaboration with Lyrebirds:
Alexander Krog and Jens Hegner Stærmose

Year:
2021

Performances:
Death’s messengers, Digital Tech Summit, Technical University Denmark, 30. November 2021

Insulet OmniPod Insulin Management System vulnerability
Whitepaper: https://omnipod.lyrebirds.dk/

Created on behalf of:
Technical University of Denmark

Grants: