A defibrillator fitted to US vice president Dick Cheney had its wireless functions removed in the factory, in order to ensure hackers – or terrorists – could not kill him by attacking the device.
Defibrillators and their close cousins the pacemaker have been fingered as a security risk before. Last year we reported that radio interference could set them off under some circumstances. Back in 2008 similar concerns were raised by The Medical Device Security Centre.
It now appears that US security authorities were aware of the potential problem in 2007, the year then-Veep Dick Cheney was fitted with a new defibrillator by Dr. Jonathan Reiner.
In a video posted here and embdeded below, Dr Reiner says “It seemed to me to be a bad idea for the vice-president of the United States to have a device that maybe someone on a rope line or someone in the next hotel room or somebody downstairs might be able to get into, hack into.”
Turning to Cheney he says: ”I worried that someone could kill you.”
Cheney responds: “I was aware of the danger.”
The idea of a vice-presidential implant being used to attack the holder of the office often said to have only one function – having a heartbeat – was later used in an episode of US television drama Homeland. Cheney says in the video that episode featuring the attack “was an accurate portrayal of what was possible.” ®