Brainjacking: the next cyber-security threat

Today we live in a world more and more interconnected to computer tools. These tools have become an integral part of our private and professional life, simplifying many aspects of our daily lives. However, the ubiquitous nature of computing is not without risk because it also makes us vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. Thus, connecting the human brain to a computer raises the question of the risk of hacking human brains by cybercriminals.

The idea that we will have Brain Chips inserted in our skull and that these devices can be connected to computers has been discussed in science fiction for decades. But, this idea has become a reality today thanks to technological advances in the field of Neurotechnology and to the extension of the scope of application of brain implants. Used mainly for medical purposes, to treat psychiatric or neuromuscular disorders, brain implants will be able in the near future to have effects on the intellectual abilities of the human beings. Elon Musk’s Neuralink and Bryan Johnson’s Kernel, are two companies which enter the world of brain-computer interfaces with the goal of human enhancement and of democratization of these devices.

So, the era of Brain Chips is just beginning and, like any other new technology, will end up being accepted by society. Also, every technology can potentially be exploited by criminals for illegal purposes, and the technology of brain implants is no exception. Therefore, unauthorized control of the human brain via brain implants, or “brainjacking”, is now starting to become a major concern.

Nowadays, protecting our Smartphones and Personal Computers from hacking is already a difficult task. But in the near future, our bodies may be the next battlefield in the cybersecurity war. It has already demonstrated that medical devices, such as pacemakers or insulin pumps, present security vulnerabilities that allow cybercriminals to carry out attacks.

Thus, even if there are still no proofs on the existence of a cyberattack on brain implants, the safety of such devices is a dreaded concern. Certainly, the main goal for scientists is to make the technology of brain implants progress so that this one becomes more efficient and easy to use. However, it is important to remember to ensure the safety of such technology. So, it is necessary to find a compromise between security and innovation in order to avoid as much as possible the risk of the hacking of the human brain. However, if such an attack comes true, it is necessary to take all the appropriate measures in order to avoid legal and ethical problems.

The main question is: are brain chips the next target for hackers? So, are you ready to be hacked?   

A propos de Larisa RUSU

Étudiante en Master 2 Droit de l’économie numérique au sein de l’Université de Strasbourg et titulaire d'un Master 2 Droit et politique de l'Union européenne au sein de l’Université de Strasbourg, je m’intéresse au domaine du numérique et particulièrement à la protection des données personnelles.

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