Warning! Cyber-criminals Can Hack and Compromise Implanted Brains - TECH FOE

Warning! Cyber-criminals Can Hack and Compromise Implanted Brains



The major aim of an implanted brain with micro-chips is to boost human performances such as learning speed and memory function for the average person. Others includes helping people with physical disabilities regain movement and also to cure mental illness.

However, despite the goodwill of these newly developed class of brain implants, they could become hacking targets to those with malicious intents.


According to an October 2018 joint report by researchers from Kaspersky Lab and the University of Oxford Functional Neurosurgery Group, warned that the brain stimulation devices used to treat disorders like Parkinson's and OCD has security vulnerabilities that would potentially allow hacker(s) to manipulate medical implants.

The vulnerabilities are no different from the regular ones you and i know. Those flaws include stuff like bugs/vulnerabilities in the smartphone and tablets apps, and as well as the web apps used by the doctors to keep records and setup implant.

Poor password keeping practices such as using the default passwords and also transmitting unencrypted data transmitted between two ends can be snooped.

"New threats resulting from this could include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts; while 'repurposed' cyberthreats could target new opportunities for cyber-espionage or the theft, deletion of or 'locking' of memories (for example, in return for a ransom)," the report said.


The report acknowledges that no report of such attacks have been made, but can't be ruled out since vulnerabilities that can be easily exploited won't cease to exist.

"Although no attacks targeting neurostimulators have been observed in the wild - a fact that is not altogether surprising since the numbers currently in use worldwide are low, and many are implemented in controlled setting, several points to weakness exist that will not be hard to exploit," the report said.

"Many of the potential vulnerabilities could be reduced or even eliminated by appropriate security education for clinical care teams and patients. But healthcare professionals, the security industry, the developers and manufacturers of devices and associated professional bodies all have a role to play in ensuring risks and vulnerabilities, and doing so now while this technology is still relatively new, will pay off in the future."

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