Researchers Are Trying to Hack Your Brain

The thought of someone being able to read your mind is frightening. And according to some new research presented at the 21st USENIX Security Symposium, brain hacking might be more realistic than we would assume.

The research has nothing to do with psychics or supernatural stuff, but rather focuses its gaze on inexpensive products that you can buy now—like Emotiv's EPOC headset. Using a headset that lets you control your computer with your brainwaves, a hacker could hypothetically create a sort of "brain spyware" app that would trick you into revealing personal information.

The research centers on the P300 brainwave, which is emitted when you recognize something meaningful. In tests, 28 guinea pigs were given the headsets, then shown images of things like credit cards, ATMs, and people, as they were asked specific questions. The brainwaves they released were analyzed with signal processing software, and from these the researchers were able to cull private data that was 15-40 percent more accurate than if they had just guessed.

That's a huge margin, but still kind of scary. Someone clever person could use this to steal items like your bank account numbers, credit score, weight, or to find out that all your money is actually hidden under your mattress. [CBS Seattle via CNET]