You better watch what you’re thinking.
Researchers from the University of California and University of Oxford in Geneva have figured out a way to “hack” into a brain and pluck out sensitive information using an over-the-counter device.
The scientists claim they can get inside a person’s head and determine PIN numbers, bank accounts, and home addresses with up to 40 percent accuracy.
That may not sound like the most reliable success rate, but it sure is quicker than randomly trying to guess a 16-digit credit card number.
Researchers used an Emotiv brain-computer interface, a headset that costs around $299 and allows users to interact with a computer via thought. It’s often used as a controller in video games.
In the study, subjects were shown images of banks, people, logos, and numbers. The scientists then tracked the readings coming off the brain, specifically looking for what’s called the P300 response.
The P300 response is given off when a person recognizes something familiar or meaningful, such as something they interact with regularly.
The experiment also revealed the P300 can be used to detect whether relevant information is stored in a person’s memory. In other words, the technology could prove useful in lie detection and interrogation.
The scientists warn this discovery could mark the beginning of a new form of fraud. So, with this in mind, the best way to protect your thoughts is to avoid wearing an Emotiv headset while thinking about your passwords.
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