Neurosecurity Concerns In Neural Implant Tech

Neural implants are now becoming more important in medical research. Devices like the iPlant to program your own brain and the neural implant for communication raise interesting possibilities to help people. However, a recent paper details some of the consequences of having an electronic device implanted below the surface of your conscious mind.

In their paper, Neurosecurity: security and privacy for neural devices, Tamara Denning, B.S., Yoky Matsuoka, Ph.D., anD Tadayoshi Kohno, Ph.D. of the University of Washington, present their case for special safeguards in electronic brain implants.

Security vulnerabilities have already been discovered; in 2003, a hacker demonstrated that cardiac defibrillators could be compromised wirelessly.

The authors present a number of scenarios that are realistic depictions of what might happen with technologies being developed today. Malicious persons might interfere with life-saving implanted technologies or prosthetic devices; individuals might even be tempted to reprogram or otherwise tweak their own devices.

Neurosecurity will probably face technical challenges that are dramatically different from those of traditional computer security applications. It is easy to ask a computer user to make security decisions in response to pop-up windows; in contrast, it would be difficult to ask the users of neural devices to make rapid meta-decisions about their own brains.

Furthermore, the consequence of a breach in neurosecurity—where human health and free will are at stake—is very different from a breach in com- puter security, where the victim is a computer on a desk. Due to the elegant yet little-understood plasticity of the neural system, changes made by hackers could have ir- reversible effects on human performance and cognition.

In his newly published novel WWW: Wake, sf author Robert J. Sawyer tells the story of Caitlin Decter, a blind teenager who participates in the Internet with the use of assistive devices.

When she gets the opportunity to have a special implant that might, with the help of a small external computer, help her to see, she jumps at it. However, her device (cleverly called an "eyePod") is "hacked" by an unexpected entity. She develops "websight":

Although each part of the Web she was was unique, it all followed the same general pattern: colored lines representing links, glowing circles of various sizes and brightness indicating websites...
(Read more about Sawyer's websight)

Science fiction readers have no trouble imagining (with the help of our favorite authors) the kinds of mischief that malicious persons could get into by hacking brain implants or the devices that service them. I'm sure readers could think of other examples.

Read more in Neurosecurity: security and privacy for neural devices (pdf) and Wired; thanks to Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/1/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.' - Frank Herbert, 1976.

H-MEX Helpful Exoskeleton From Hyundai
'We have those new suits rigged with atomic-powered lifting gadgets...' - John W. Campbell, 1938.

3D Skin Printer Helps Burn Victims
'Over her lacerated right shoulder he sprayed art-derm...'- Philip K. Dick, 1960.

Can Virtual Reality help People Cope With Pain?
Research is promising.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.