Biohacking Cyborgs

For many of us, computer networks have become critical parts of our everyday lives, so much so that our physical and virtual lives have become irrevocably intertwined. Our virtual lives, much like our physical ones, are being mapped and analysed continuously, meticulously and stealthily by various entities. There is nothing new about the industrial espionage and constant cyber-attacks conducted by organised groups on a seemingly daily basis, including notably, the recent and recurring attack against PlayStation, in which around 100 terabytes of data was compromised and illegally obtained.

What could be considered  an isolated case by most, does not surprise IT Security professionals, as it has been widely acknowledged that obscure organisations are tracing and mapping the whole Internet and researching potential vulnerabilities which affect different networks, both public and private.

One of the maximum exponentials of their meticulous and extremely secretive research might be the massive scan of specific network ports associated with an operating system used by a wide range of devices, including VOIP Telephony, video cameras, monitoring systems, military machinery, power grids, automobiles, spacecrafts, and satellites and robots over the surface of the Moon.

Even more interesting is the grinder movement, formerly known as biohacking - born from the inspiring work of Professor Kevin Warwick, author of the book "I, Cyborg". He is considered by many to be the first person to implant a RFID chip into his arm which was used to open doors and turn lights on and off. In his book, Warwick comments on how he and his wife are connected by the implant, which allows them to feel what the other person is feeling.

Another source of inspiration for the cyborg community is Amal Graafstra, who also implanted another RFID chip in his hand. He is able to enter his house, open the door of his car and log on to his computer just by placing his hand close to the devices.

As the movement continues to expand, the methods employed to compromise security are expanding too. What would happen (hypothetically) if we were able to manipulate the stream of feelings shared between Warwick and his wife via the implanted chip? Could a different emotion be "injected" into the stream? Could the contradicting injected feeling make one person think that there is something wrong with the other? Perhaps he or she would react unexpectedly, in the way the biohacker wants the target to respond.

What would happen if we could replicate Graafstra's "master key" configuration? Would we then become Graafstra's logic clones and as such, able to enter "our" house, drive "our" car and check "our" e-mails among other things?

Personally, I believe that technology will evolve towards computer implants, and that biohacking, considered at the present moment as an underground trend, will become mainstream in the near future. From a security point of view, we must assume that the resulting hybrid architecture will be prone to intrusions of any nature, which implies that we must be ready to implement anti-biohacking measures.

We Cyborgs must remain alert and security conscious about the existing threats to come from either the physical or the virtual world, and it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and our data.