Brainjacking – a new cyber-security threat

We live in an interconnected age where wirelessly controlled computing devices make almost every aspect of our lives easier, but they also make us vulnerable to cyber-security attacks. Today, nearly everything can be hacked, from cars to lightbulbs. But perhaps the most concerning threat is the one posed by implanted medical devices. Experts have demonstrated the ease with which security on pacemakers and insulin pumps can be breached, potentially resulting in lethal consequences.

In a recent paper that I and several of my colleagues at Oxford Functional Neurosurgery wrote, we discussed a new frontier of security threat: brain implants. Unauthorised control of brain implants, or “brainjacking”, has been discussed in science fiction for decades but with advances in implant technology it is now starting to become possible.

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