Dick Cheney altered implanted heart device to prevent terrorist hack attacks

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was so concerned that terrorists might hack the medical device implanted near his heart in order to deliver a fatal shock that he disabled a function that allowed the defibrillator to be administered wirelessly, the Associated Press reported.

The revelation, made in an interview to be aired Sunday on CBS's 60 Minutes program, echoes concerns that researchers have raised for years about the vulnerability of implanted medical devices, which are equipped with computerized functions and wireless capabilities that allow the devices to be administered without requiring additional surgery. In June, the US Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team warned that an array of medical devices contain backdoors that make them vulnerable to potentially life-threatening hacks. An episode of the Showtime series Homeland portrayed a similar assassination scenario.

"I found it credible," Cheney said on the 60 Minutes segment concerning the Homeland plot line. "I know from the experience we had, and the necessity for adjusting my own device, that it was an accurate portrayal of what was possible."

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