Friday, July 7, 2017

Try Not to Think

Study finds hackers could use brainwaves to steal passwords
Jul 2017,

It's been a while since I tested that EPOC Emotiv headset. It definitely worked, and that was over 5 years ago. Turns out that some people are really using it to play games, although I'm not sure how true this is.

It reads your brainwaves via electrical signal receivers that simply touch your head. Yes, there is electricity running through your brain, And yes that energy carries a signal that can be decoded and translated. Unfortunately, it's very limited. It can decipher up vs down, or left vs right, or any one thing vs another, but only if you trained it that way. You sit there and give it a baseline, you let the headset read your brain while you're thinking of "nothing" (def not as easy as it sounds). Then you train it to read anything other than nothing, and codes that as a command. If you want two commands, then you have to try and give it two very different patterns of thinking, so it can tell the difference, otherwise, it only knows on/off, thinking/not-thinking. Maybe the thing has come a long way and people really can use it to play games that require more than just one button.

Anyway, surprise surprise, it looks like you may be compromising the security of your own thoughts when you put on this brain reader; who knew?!

from the article:

"The team found that, after a user entered 200 characters, algorithms within the malicious software program could make educated guesses about new characters the user entered by monitoring the EEG data recorded. The algorithm was able to shorten the odds of a hacker's guessing a four-digit numerical PIN from one in 10,000 to one in 20 and increased the chance of guessing a six-letter password from about 500,000 to roughly one in 500."

image source:
photograph by Brad Miller, neurons in the cerebral cortex of a 6-day old rat, 40x magnification, 1996 Nikon Photomicrography Competition

Post Script
Trepanation is when you drill a hole into someone's head because that's where the problem is. 

Some nice illustrations about trepanation, by Scultetus

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