Research Reveals EEG Headsets Susceptible to Hacking

Research Reveals EEG Headsets Susceptible to Hacking

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggest that brainwave-sensing headsets, also known as EEG or electroencephalograph headsets, need better security after a study reveals hackers could guess a user’s passwords by monitoring their brainwaves.

According to brain monitoring market published by Coherent Market Insights, brain waves monitoring is a swiftly growing sector, attributed to various advancements in technology. A recent advancement includes brainwave-sensing headsets.

These EEG headsets are allow users to control robotic toys and video games, specifically developed to be played with an EEG headset, using their brain alone. Few of these devices are available in the market and their price ranges from US$ 150 to US$ 800.

It was found that a person who paused a video game and logged into a bank account while wearing an EEG headset was at risk for having their passwords or other sensitive data stolen by a malicious software program.

“These emerging devices open immense opportunities for everyday users,” Saxena said. “However, they could also raise significant security and privacy threats as companies work to develop even more advanced brain-computer interface technology.”

While typing, a person’s inputs are known to correspond with their visual processing and hand, eye, and head muscle movements as well. These movements are captured by EEG headsets. Repeating passwords, would enable the machine to link the user’s typing with his brainwave. This would enable cracking the code.

“In a real-world attack, a hacker could facilitate the training step required for the malicious program to be most accurate, by requesting that the user enter a predefined set of numbers in order to restart the game after pausing it to take a break, similar to the way CAPTCHA is used to verify users when logging onto websites.” “It is important to analyze the potential security and privacy risks associated with this emerging technology to raise users’ awareness of the risks and develop viable solutions to malicious attacks,” Saxena said.

One potential solution proposed is the insertion of noise anytime a user types a password or PIN while wearing an EEG headset.

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