Hacking the Human Brain? Not As Impossible As You Think
Love it or hate it but hacking someone’s brain is not as far away as it seems. According to Extreme Tech, researchers have shown how to use a “commercial off-the-shelf brain-computer interface” (e.g. Emotiv EPOC) to discover your secret thoughts.
Researchers at the Usenix Security conference have demonstrated a zero-day vulnerability in your brain. They achieved as much as a 40% success rate among a group of willing volunteers. The “hack” works by measuring the brain’s response to images flashed before your eyes, from which the researchers can determine things like your home location, date of birth, and even your credit card PIN. The idea is basically that by showing someone their PIN number, the computer can tell that their brain recognises it as their own.
To extract this information, the researchers rely on what’s known as the P300 response — a very specific brainwave pattern — that occurs when you recognize something that is meaningful (a person’s face), or when you recognize something that fits your current task (a hammer in the shed).
In a real-world scenario, the researchers foresee a game that is specially tailored by hackers to extract sensitive information from your brain — or perhaps an attack vector that also uses social engineering to lull you into a false sense of security. It’s harder to extract data from someone who knows they’re being attacked — as interrogators and torturers well know.
UPDATE: Before you totally freak out that all of a sudden your brain will be hacked, make sure to read Ariel Garten’s reaction to the topic. Ariel is the co-founder and CEO of InteraXon, a Toronto-based company that builds brainwave-enabled products and applications. Her reactions can be found here: Securing Our Minds: The Need For Brainwave Tech Standards Against Hacking
Read the full story on extremetech.com