Cybercriminals could soon be hacking your brainwaves


Headsets that monitor your brainwaves could allow hackers to empty your bank account, scientists fear.

High-tech helmets called electroencephalograms or EEGs are often used to diagnose epilepsy, but are beginning to appear on the toy and video game markets.

You can buy devices that allow you control robotic toys or play video games using just your mind for just $130.

But a study recently proved that hackers could guess a user’s passwords using these headsets to monitor victims’ brainwaves.

And now scientists are concerned that EEGs could be used in a similar way.

Nitesh Saxena, associate professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences, along with PhD student Ajaya Neupane and Doctor Lutfor Rahman, found that a person who paused a video game and logged into a bank account while wearing an EEG could have their passwords or personal information nabbed by malicious software.

“These emerging devices open immense opportunities for everyday users,” Saxena told

“However, they could also raise significant security and privacy threats as companies work to develop even more advanced brain-computer interface technology.”

The researchers used two headsets to test their hypothesis – one clinical grade and one which can be bought online.

Both headsets monitored visual processing, hand-eye, and head muscle movements to “learn” what numbers a person was thinking about.

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