The password’s days are numbered. It has been strengthened with the use of Multi-Factor Authentication but in the end that too will not be enough. Technology already exists to use our own biometrics as fingerprint readers are commonly included in many of our handheld devices. What comes after that may be the most secure method possible, using our own brains and our mind. Move over passwords, enter the passthought.

Using Your Brain

Science fiction is rife with people being able to control something using a neural interface and their mind. It looks really cool and in a way it would simplify many things in our lives. Imagine being able to just think about unlocking your door and it does or just to think about turning the light off as you turn in to go to sleep with your mind. Imagine it as well being used to secure your most sensitive information with your own unique brain pattern.

No More Passwords, Enter The Passthought

Researchers are experimenting with Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) that allow a user to control a computer with muscular action using a headset. They are based on electroencephalography (EEG) where a single EEG is placed in the ear canal to interpret signals from the ear to determine if they can create a passthought using a person’s mind. 

Researchers at California-Berkeley have succeeded in creating authentication in a single action using custom-fit EEG earpieces with 99% accuracy. They have also demonstrated the robustness of the system against imposters and to remove vulnerabilities. It is hoped that the technology can eventually be integrated into regular wearable tech which will make the technology available to the general public.

Revolutionizing Gaming

Being able to interface our technology with the most powerful computer on the planet (our brains) has long been a goal of science. More recently researchers have created a Tetris-like game that shows the possibility of brain-to-brain communication. Facebook has also invested heavily in this with its purchase of CTRL Labs, a company that is trying to create a BCI system for gaming

Stronger, More Unique Security

When it comes to account security in today’s world of data breaches and lax security we are looking for the best of the best. Biometrics seem to offer a great increase in security over what we have now as your fingerprints or retinas are unique to you and only you. But are our brainwaves unique? We know our passwords are not unique but could our passthoughts be?

They may be. Researchers at Binghamton University seem to think so. They believe that when an individual sees something our brains react and process the signal. Each individual’s response is different and forms a different pattern. After exposing 50 different individuals to different pictures and recording their brain waves via an EEG it was determined that it was possible to determine each individual as they all reacted differently to each different image or word.

The Future

As we enter a new decade it is exciting to imagine what the future of cyber security could be. Could it be possible that our brains will be linked to the Internet and we would be able to log into our accounts by just thinking about it while at the same time a cyber criminal would be blocked from doing so. 

It is fascinating to think about and this can certainly be expanded into a new world of gaming and much more. Perhaps soon we will no longer need to sit in front of our console or computer screen but instead AR or VR games will become the next big thing. At the very least it would get the kids off of the couch and get some exercise. The Holodeck from Star Trek might be next.

Could You Hack A Brain?

In the future it may be possible that an EEG implant will be a necessary part of human life. Should this path follow the implant will become the weak link in the security. It has already been demonstrated that they can be hacked as Cisco Talos has discovered with current technology already in use in hospitals. It may be inevitable that someone has their brain hacked and that is certainly a scary thought. Now mindreading may in fact become a real thing. Could we be discussing the stealing of passthoughts (or more) a decade or two from now? 

At least at this point this technology is only in the proving phase so we are at least a long way off before we will be accessing our bank accounts or unlocking our car using our minds. That gives researchers time to find the vulnerabilities and close them off and it is guaranteed that new issues will arise when the technology is put into use by the public. That is a bridge we will need to cross when we get there but we may get there sooner than we think.

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