Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nothing, not even your body, is free of hacking

“A patient gets a device like this implanted once for one disease, and they’re done. No prescriptions, no medicines, no injections. That’s the future.” At least, that's the future imagined by neurosurgeon Kevin Tracey to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The vision of Mr. Tracey involves implanting tiny electronic devices in the vagus nerve of the patient. These implants produce electrical impulses that transmit instructions to his nervous system to fight the disease that afflicts him. However, this promising future presents a clear threat: the hacking. These devices will have wireless connectivity to update them or send them instructions, for example, from a mobile phone. But as we all know, wireless connections are susceptible to be attacked what could lead to the death of a patient.

Without going any further, some iPhone users in Australia have suffered a ransomware attack through the Apple’s "Find my iPhone" service. It seems that the attackers would have obtained the victim’s iCloud access credentials and managed to set up a password to lock their devices awaiting for a ransom. However, Apple advised not to pay any ransom and encourages victims to contact the company. In most cases you can just enter your iCloud account and restore the factory settings of the device to fix it.

Spotify recently had a bad experience with hackers as well. The music streaming company has confirmed that it detected an unauthorized access to the personal data of one of its 40 million users. As a result, Spotify has announced an impending update for its Android app.

But there is more. Even if you don’t use Spotify or iPhone and you still see very far the arriving of bioelectronic implants, for sure you are in Facebook or Yahoo Messenger to keep in touch with your friends. In that case, beware if you receive a message such as "I want to post these pictures on Facebook, do you think it’s OK?". The link accompanying the text will lead you to download a Trojan that, according to Bitdefender, can download more malware or harvest sensitive data such as usernames and passwords.

Moreover if you are one of those who are dying to try the new video game, Watch Dogs, you should be doubly careful. Especially if you do not buy a legal copy and you download a pirated version from Internet. Cracked copies along with a Bitcoin miner have already affected 40,000 users. If you've downloaded the game and notice that your computer is running much slower than usual, you should suspect that something could be stealing your resources.

In any case, we can find some cybercriminals even more ambitious when choosing their targets. In Russia, about 15 important banks, companies and public institutions suffered several DDoS attacks with an average power of 70 to 80 gigabits per second in March, although sometimes they reached 120 Gb/s. So you may think that if there are people who are able to launch such offensive against large organizations, how it is not going to be possible that someone can hack our nervous system through bioelectronic implants in the future .


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