Cyberpunk Review » Hacker’s next target: Your BRAIN

July 13, 2009

Hacker’s next target: Your BRAIN

Source: Wired


Brain-Computer Interfaces are just in its infancy, but security experts are worried that hackers may be able to pull off the ultimate “mindfuck.”

Mind control. Using everyday objects requires using your brain, mostly to control your arms and legs to manipulate them. Lately though, there have been some major breakthroughs in interfacing directly to your head, including a thought-controlled wheelchair and mind-reading machines, which have stirred up some controversy of its own. William Gibson’s vision of a computer that you can “jack” into your head is ever so closer.

And that has some security people concerned…

“Neural devices are innovating at an extremely rapid rate and hold tremendous promise for the future,” said computer security expert Tadayoshi Kohno of the University of Washington. “But if we don’t start paying attention to security, we’re worried that we might find ourselves in five or 10 years saying we’ve made a big mistake.”

Hackers tap into personal computers all the time — but what would happen if they focused their nefarious energy on neural devices, such as the deep-brain stimulators currently used to treat Parkinson’s and depression, or electrode systems for controlling prosthetic limbs? According to Kohno and his colleagues, who published their concerns July 1 in Neurosurgical Focus, most current devices carry few security risks. But as neural engineering becomes more complex and more widespread, the potential for security breaches will mushroom.


Can’t happen… can it? It would seem that trying to upload malware into your cortex would be difficult at best, if you consider that most BCI are read-only (that is, they can only read your brainwaves). Then again, if the “sex chip” proves viable, that connection will become read-write which can be “influenced,” and not by outside hackers alone:

In some cases, patients might even want to hack into their own neural device. Unlike devices to control prosthetic limbs, which still use wires, many deep brain stimulators already rely on wireless signals. Hacking into these devices could enable patients to “self-prescribe” elevated moods or pain relief by increasing the activity of the brain’s reward centers.


They’re already hacking brains. If the attacks on Epilepsy support sites are any indication, brain hacking is already occurring if not directly. Having a hacker hijack your brainstem is not possible just yet, but on the day when neural interfaces and neuron reprogramming come together, you can bet that meatbots will abound and we will be facing a real zombie apocalypse…



July 13, 2009

Gren said:

So if you hack someone’s sex chip… I’m guessing that will constitute rape.

Illogic said:

Welcome to the wonderful world of Cyberbrain warfare!

Ana Amour said:

Gren, good one :)
Cips aside, I’m curious to know what incentive was used to convince the people in the lower photo to pose like that.

Mr No1 said:

I can read “I love to be vegan” there? As a vegan myself, I can assure you that we have a big appetite for human flesh… that would explain the stains XD

Save animals. Eat human meat ;)

July 16, 2009

Steve said:

Wow, prepare for Snow Crash!

August 4, 2009

overmatik said:

The sad thing is that all these brain-interference devices are just a matter of time. At least, a lot of time yet, well over our lives!

After all, our brain works under electric pulses.

August 19, 2009

Marc McKenzie said:

Hmmm…geez, all of this worrying about hackers f-ing up our brains….wow, haven’t any of these folks read GHOST IN THE SHELL? Or watched the films or the STAND ALONE COMPLEX series? Or even read classic cyberpunk novels?

Of course this will happen! The sad thing is that people’s minds can be “hacked” with misinformation even without direct cyber interface. Just look back through history–see how the Nazis were able to convince the people of Germany to see things their way? And even today, look at the imbroglio with the debate about healthcare reform. The misinfo that people are spewing out comes from the fact that all they’ve done is listen to and/or watch constant repetition of propaganda.

‘Nuff said.

August 26, 2009

blue video face said:

One form of coercion leads to another. I doubt that such an obvious tactic is going to be strategic for actual controlling, or ‘brain hacking’. I read some where that in the audio-visual age we are in the form of control by envy: look at any commercial. Its about the control of desires, and thats the ultimate mindfuck.

October 11, 2009

0m1kr0n said:

Attack of the living trust fund babies!

January 14, 2011

sophie said:

are these real or are you trying just to scare and show us what are future is going to be ?????/

sophie said:

sophie isnt my name really its acually Cooper Kirsten malixestuty i know its hard to pornounce

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