Watch Out For Memory Theft, It's Not Just Science Fiction Anymore

Author - Nov 05, 2018

Watch Out For Memory Theft, It's Not Just Science Fiction Anymore

According to Kaspersky and Oxford University, soon hackers will be able to steal all of your memory and even build it, rewrite it or lock it.

Talking about the future, many scientists think that technology development will eventually lead to the integration between human and machine. However, as cool as it may sound, we should also consider the risks.

brain chip

Kaspersky, in collaboration with Functional Neurosurgery Group of Oxford University, conducted an investigation into this issue and the result was indicated in Kaspersky’s latest report. The report mentions the potentials of memory implants to empower human brains, including saving memories in digital versions, directly interacting with devices or even using their processing power.

However, since the idea is so new and not fully developed, hence there haven’t been any rules or regulations over security being discussed. And though the security risks are still far in the future, the technology for exploiting such hardware exists already. Therefore, attackers can really sneak into our brains and steal data one day.

Oxford’s scientists have been doing research on the way memories are created by electrical impulses, and how to approach, restore and enhance them with brain stimulation devices. Those are Implantable Pulse Generators (IPGs), also known as neurostimulators, which send electrical impulses to particular targets inside the brain. Sometimes, these stimulators are used for Parkinson treatment or major depression as well as OCD treatment.

brain chip

What should be noted is that the devices include software for both patients and physicians, and they install them on smartphones and tablets with connection through Bluetooth. This is where the problems arise.

Firstly, data are not encrypted, so hackers can intercept the data transfer and steal important information on the patient or even the hospital. Furthermore, they can change the device’s function, causing annoyance, pain or worse, paralysis to the patient. If other patients have implants connected to the same infrastructure, they will be affected too.

Another concern is that these implants are made for the patient’s safety rather than security, so they must be accessed easily in case of emergency. This leads to no passwords and a software backdoor, which means cracking into the system is such a piece of cake for attackers.

Last but not least, human is one risky factor. The University discovered that some hospitals don’t change the default password on their software links to the system, so programmers that create the software or anyone that is familiar with this technology can take advantage of the unchanged password.

brain chip

Prepare yourself of the creepiest part, according to expert estimates, scientists are only five years away from the point where they can record the brain signals which build memories, then enhance or even rewrite memories before returning them into the brain. Experts believe that within a decade, there will be the first memory boosting implants sold on the market. Also, what threatens the neurostimulators will threaten these devices too. With IPGs, at least, attackers can only steal data on the patient’s sickness; but memory implants will expose the entire critical source of information about human.

It’s overwhelming just to think what hackers do to our memories: stealing passwords, confidential information to blackmail a person, or even ‘lock’ our memory in exchange for ransom.


Sort by Newest | Popular