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Scientist Infects Himself With Computer Virus

Scientist Infects Himself With Computer Virus

Man infects himself with computer virus to show flaws in electronic security systems…

British scientist Dr. Mark Gasson has become the first person to be infected with a computer virus after implanting a chip in his hand that was used to attack a lab security system.

The chip, similar to those used to tag pets, was programmed to remotely open his labs security doors and unlock his mobile phone, but he also infected the chip with a virus to prove that it could be transferred as the chip and security system wirelessly exchanged data.

dr mark gasson Scientist Infects Himself With Computer Virus

Dr Mark Gasson

Once infected the virus could then spread through other devices interacting with the control system, such as colleague’s swipe cards, in the same way viruses spread across computer networks.

The results raise the possibility that devices such as pacemakers and inner implants could become vulnerable to cyber attacks from other human implants.

Dr. Gasson said:

“Our research shows that implantable technology has developed to the point where implants are capable of communicating, storing and manipulating data…

“This means that, like mainstream computers, they can be infected by viruses and the technology will need to keep pace with this so that implants, including medical devices, can be safely used in the future.”

He stressed it is not currently thought possible to exploit medical devices such as pacemakers because they have not been analyzed for flaws, but said they could theoretically be vulnerable.

He said:

“We do not know of any medical device that can be exploited in this way yet but we are very much on the cusp of it being possible…

“It is possible that you could create a virus that completely corrupts the device to the point where it does not work anymore.”

Implanted technology is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., where medical alert bracelets can be scanned to bring up a patient’s medical history.

Dr Gasson said the technology is likely to become more widely used in the future, even for non-medical purposes such as increasing someone’s memory.
He said:

“Our next evolutionary step may well mean that we all become part machine as we look to enhance ourselves, either because it becomes as much of a social norm as say mobile phones, or because we’ll be disadvantaged if we do not.”

In a separate project by Reading University scientists in 2008, experts created a robot that used cells from the brain of a rat to make decisions, in order to help design treatments for diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The robot, known as an “animat”, interpreted electrical signals from the cells to navigate itself around a laboratory without bumping into obstacles.


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