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Scientists Prove They Can Get Passwords From Brainwaves

By July 29, 2017March 1st, 2023Technology News

It just may be the ultimate hack: stealing passwords from your brainwaves. It’s something that has moved beyond the realm of science fiction and into the realm of possibility, according to a joint research study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of California, Riverside.

The research team tested 12 subjects, each wearing an EEG headset, which is a piece of gear increasingly common in video games. The subjects were asked to input a string of randomly generated passwords and PINS via their keyboards. While they were doing this, the researchers studied the brainwave patterns captured by the headsets, and were able to correctly deduce the PINs 46.5 percent of the time, and the passwords 37.3 percent of the time.

If you think this is something that only gamers have to worry about though, think again. Game developers have rushed to embrace the technology, and other industries aren’t far behind. Right now, you can buy an Emotiv headset and use it to do everything from controlling a wheelchair with your brain (a huge mobility assist for those who are partially or completely paralyzed), pilot drones via thought, turn lights off and on and a whole host of other things. Opening and using Enterprise applications can’t be far behind.

While it’s true that the percentages mentioned above aren’t stellar, bear in mind that this was their first attempt. As they improve their algorithm, and as the technology itself continues to advance, you can expect those percentages to climb dramatically. As the software becomes mainstream in more and more industries, it’s just a matter of time before the hackers of the world begin to take notice, which brings up a tough question.

How can we prevent our brains from being hacked? So far, no one has any answers.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.