Early on in the pandemic we wrote about how some makers of medical equipment, such as ventilators, were making it difficult to impossible to let hospitals fix their own ventilators. Many have used software locks -- DRM -- and refuse to give the information necessary to keep those machines online.
And thus, it was only inevitable that piracy would step in to fill the void. Vice has the incredible story of a rapidly growing grey market for both hacked hardware and software to keep ventilators running:
In the case of the PB840, a ventilator popularized about 20 years ago and in use ever since, a functional monitor swapped from a machine with a broken breathing unit to one with a broken monitor but a functioning breathing unit won’t work if the software isn’t synced. And so William uses the homemade dongle and Medtronic software shared with him by the Polish hacker to sync everything and repair the ventilator. Medtronic makes a similar dongle, but doesn’t sell it to the general public or independent repair professionals. It’s only available to people authorized by the company to do repairs.
An interesting link found among my daily reading