New headset can hack into human brains | News.com.au
August 27, 2012
New headset can hack into human brains
by: Claire Connelly
From: News Limited Network
August 24, 2012 3:07PM
Sinister use: the Emotiv BCI headset can be used to hack into a person’s brain. Picture:emotiv.com Source: Supplied
SCIENTISTS have discovered a way to hack the human brain using a headset that you can buy off the shelf.
The Emotiv BCI headset only costs US$299 ($184) and can be used to play video games, as a hands-free keyboard or to assist in relaxation training.
It has been used to assist mentally and physically disabled people operate a wheelchair and to communicate online.
The data from the devices are also used by app developers. But researchers from the Universities of Oxford, California and Geneva proved that the same technology can also be used to help in getting access to anything from what bank you use, to your credit card pin and your home address.
A group of computer science students participated in a study that they were told related to security. The students were equipped with the headset and were shown images of things such as banks, credit card numbers, bank pins and maps. The students were unaware that their brains were being hacked for information.
The researchers found they could track the students’ brain signals to work out personal information like where they lived and what bank they used.
The scientists were able to correctly guess the students’ pin numbers on the first guess in 20 per cent of cases, where they lived in 30 per cent of cases and birth months in 60 per cent of cases.
The scientists said the simplicity of the experiments suggested that the same information could be used for more sophisticated attacks.
“For example, an uninformed user could be easily engaged into ‘mindgames’ that camouflage the interrogation of the user and make them more co-operative,” the team wrote in the paper on the experiment which they presented at the Usenix Security Conference in Bellevue, Washington two weeks ago.
“Furthermore, with the ever increasing quality of devices, success rates of attacks will likely improve.”
The headsets are also designed to store the data acquired from people’s brain once the person is done using it. The researchers warned that hackers could gain access to your thoughts by installing malware in the headset’s software.
“The development of new attacks can be achieved with relative ease and is only limited by the attacker’s own creativity,” the scientists wrote.
Copyright 2012 News Limited. All times AEST (GMT +10:00).
Stop the Internet Blacklist Legislation
The Internet Blacklist Legislation – known as PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House – is a threatening sequel to last year’s COICA Internet censorship bill. Like its predecessor, this legislation invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation. Urge your members of Congress to reject this Internet blacklist campaign in both its forms!
Big media and its allies in Congress are billing the Internet Blacklist Legislation as a new way to prevent online infringement. But innovation and free speech advocates know that this initiative is nothing more than a dangerous wish list that will compromise Internet security while doing little or nothing to encourage creative expression. (TAKE ACTION NOW!)
Charges NOT Dropped For Growing Garden
While it only appears that the City of Oak Park, MI dropped charges toward Julie Bass for planting a vegetable garden in her front yard, she wants to clarify that charges have not been dropped. She may not be spending 93 days in the slammer for growing veggies, but she faces similar punishment - for her dogs! But the garden fiasco is not over, more on that below.
Did the canines have run-ins with the police and attack pedestrians? No, they were simply unlicensed at the time she was ticketed for the garden. So the Bass family immediately got licenses after being cited for them, showed proof to the prosecutor and then it seemed that the issue was cleared. That is, until the case was recently reinstated. Even though her pets are current and licensed, she faces two misdemeanors and possibly over 93 days in jail. Political posturing at its finest.
Be sure to watch the news clip. Their attorney is going to subpoena all other city citations regarding these ordinances to find out just how selectively enforced they really are.
Listen to Oak Park Prosecutor Eugene Lumberg digress and ask the news anchor if she would like to have her neighbors plant corn stalks next door (or have a chicken coop!). Kudos to the interviewer for setting him straight and directing the conversation back to the point.
Another reason the garden charges are not necessarily dropped is because they were strangely “[not dropped but] dismissed by some judge we have never heard of or seen. we hope this person is a real judge, and had the real authority to dismiss our case, but we are going to double-check on that today.” Also, a “dismissal without prejudice means that the prosecutor can come back at any time and reinstate the garden charge” as witnessed with the reinstatement of the dog case. Julie says, “there has been no final disposition of the case, so we can’t take a deep breath and relax.” She continues, “the prosecutor wants more time to review the ordinance. not that he has given up on the garden charge. to the contrary, he wants more time to look things over.”
Five little-known vegetables that could help end hunger
Native vegetables such as guar, Dogon shallot, and celosia could play an important role in feeding Africa.
- Girl with a cart of fresh produce in Kenya. Less well-known vegetables could play an important role in feeding the planet.
- (Keith Levit / Design Pics/Newscom/File)
No single food can put an end to hunger. But worldwide there are many different fruits and vegetables that are helping to improve nutrition and diets, while increasing incomes and improving livelihoods.
Today, Nourishing the Planet introduces a new series featuring the four vegetables – and one fruit that acts like a vegetable – that you have likely never heard of that are helping to alleviate hunger and poverty: (Learn more)
Corporate Control? Not in These Communities
Mt. Shasta, a small northern California town of 3,500 residents nestled in the foothills of magnificent Mount Shasta, is taking on corporate power through an unusual process—democracy.
The citizens of Mt. Shasta have developed an extraordinary ordinance, set to be voted on in the next special or general election, that would prohibit corporations such as Nestle and Coca-Cola from extracting water from the local aquifer. But this is only the beginning. The ordinance would also ban energy giant PG&E, and any other corporation, from regional cloud seeding, a process that disrupts weather patterns through the use of toxic chemicals such as silver iodide. More generally, it would refuse to recognize corporate personhood, explicitly place the rights of community and local government above the economic interests of multinational corporations, and recognize the rights of nature to exist, flourish, and evolve.
Mt. Shasta is not alone. Rather, it is part of a (so far) quiet municipal movement making its way across the United States in which communities are directly defying corporate rule and affirming the sovereignty of local government.
Since 1998, more than 125 municipalities have passed ordinances that explicitly put their citizens’ rights ahead of corporate interests, despite the existence of state and federal laws to the contrary. These communities have banned corporations from dumping toxic sludge, building factory farms, mining, and extracting water for bottling. Many have explicitly refused to recognize corporate personhood. Over a dozen townships in Pennsylvania, Maine, and New Hampshire have recognized the right of nature to exist and flourish (as Ecuador just did in its new national constitution). Four municipalities, including Halifax in Virginia, and Mahoney, Shrewsbury, and Packer in Pennsylvania, have passed laws imposing penalties on corporations for chemical trespass, the involuntary introduction of toxic chemicals into the human body. (READ FULL ARTICLE)
“Say OM” – Meditation More Often Prescribed
A recent review of a cancer patient’s battle with lymphoma has spurred more interest in the mind-body practice of meditation. While Danilo Ramirez, 44, still braved the effects of chemotherapy and radiation, his ability to endure these treatments was furthered by the discipline of meditation.
In fact, a recent study put out by Harvard has shown that more physicians are recommending alternative mind-body medicines to help their patients, about 6 million. For Ramirez, it saved his life. His anxiety and stress in response to radiation therapy became more than he could bear. Danillo fought through sleeplessness, panic attacks, claustrophobia and taking anti-anxiety medication.
However, after attending meditation sessions, Ramirez states, “You’ve got to make your mind control your body.” Far too often we separate mind from body and forget that we are one whole operating unit. The traditional western treatment that he was prompted to endure for his particular cancer coupled with meditation is saving his life.
There have been over 2,000 studies conducted over the last 40 years that have proven the benefits of meditation practice. The physiological benefits include stabilizing blood pressure, lowering heart rate and stress hormones, slowing the aging process, improving mental functioning, brain wave coherence as well as boosting immune functioning. With all of that in mind, the overall psychological and spiritual well-being of those who practice can also report personal growth and peace of mind. (Read Full Article)