Personalized insulin dose manipulation attack and its detection using interval-based temporal patterns and machine learning algorithms

Tamar Levy-Loboda, Eitam Sheetrit, Idit F. Liberty, Alon Haim, Nir Nissim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Many patients with diabetes are currently being treated with insulin pumps and other diabetes devices which improve their quality of life and enable effective treatment of diabetes. These devices are connected wirelessly and thus, are vulnerable to cyber-attacks which have already been proven feasible. In this paper, we focus on two types of cyber-attacks on insulin pump systems: an overdose of insulin, which can cause hypoglycemia, and an underdose of insulin, which can cause hyperglycemia. Both of these attacks can result in a variety of complications and endanger a patient's life. Specifically, we propose a sophisticated and personalized insulin dose manipulation attack; this attack is based on a novel method of predicting the blood glucose (BG) level in response to insulin dose administration. To protect patients from the proposed sophisticated and malicious insulin dose manipulation attacks, we also present an automated machine learning based system for attack detection; the detection system is based on an advanced temporal pattern mining process, which is performed on the logs of real insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). Our multivariate time-series data (MTSD) collection consists of 225,780 clinical logs, collected from real insulin pumps and CGMs of 47 patients with type I diabetes (13 adults and 34 children) from two different clinics at Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel over a four-year period. We enriched our data collection with additional relevant medical information related to the subjects. In the extensive experiments performed, we evaluated the proposed attack and detection system and examined whether: (1) it is possible to accurately predict BG levels in order to create malicious data that simulate a manipulation attack and the patient's body in response to it; (2) it is possible to automatically detect such attacks based on advanced machine learning (ML) methods that leverage temporal patterns; (3) the detection capabilities of the proposed detection system differ for insulin overdose and underdose attacks; and (4) the granularity of the learning model (general / adult vs. pediatric clinic / individual patient) affects the detection capabilities. Our results show that (a) it is possible to predict, with nearly 90% accuracy, BG levels using our proposed methods, and by doing so, enable malicious data creation for our detection system evaluation; (b) it is possible to accurately detect insulin manipulation attacks using temporal patterns mining using several ML methods, including Logistic Regression, Random Forest, TPF class model, TPF top k, and ANN algorithms; (c) it is easier to detect an overdose attack than an underdose attack in more than 25%, in terms of AUC scores; and (d) the adult vs. pediatric model outperformed models of other granularities in the detection of overdose attacks, while the general model outperformed the other models in the case of detecting underdose attacks; for both attacks, attack detection among children was found to be more challenging than among adults. In addition to its use in the evaluation of our detection system, the proposed BG prediction method has great importance in the medical domain where it can contribute to improved care of patients with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104129
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Cyber-attack
  • Detection
  • Insulin pumps
  • Machine learning
  • Time interval mining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications


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