The thought of someone being able to read your mind is frightening. According to some new research presented at the 21st USENIX Security Symposium, brain hacking might be more realistic than we would assume.
The research has nothing to do with psychics or supernatural stuff. Rather, it focuses its gaze on inexpensive products that you can buy now — like Emotiv’s EPOC headset. Using a headset that lets you control your computer with your brainwaves, a hacker could hypothetically create a sort of “brain spyware” app that would trick you into revealing personal information.
The research centres on the P300 brainwave, which is emitted when you recognise something meaningful. In tests, 28 guinea pigs were given the headsets, then shown images of things like credit cards, ATMs and people, as they were asked specific questions. The brainwaves they released were analysed with signal-processing software from which the researchers were able to cull private data that was 15-40 per cent more accurate than if they had just guessed.
That’s a huge margin, but it’s still kind of scary. Someone clever could use this to steal your bank account numbers, credit score, weight or all that money hidden under your mattress. [CBS Seattle via CNET]