Scientist injects computer virus into body

Dr. Mark Gasson from the University of Reading purposely injected a computer chip into his hand that contained malicious code. The computer chip is normally used for identification purposes, typically for tagging animals, but in this case it is used allow access into secured rooms.

The ID chip contained code that would infect the computer system and then infect any other ID chip that passed through that system. Gasson said that the project is a proof of concept but as medical implants become more sophisticated they may be susceptible to infection. "With the benefits of this type of technology come risks. We may improve ourselves in some way but much like the improvements with other technologies, mobile phones for example, they become vulnerable to risks, such as security problems and computer viruses."

Professor Rafael Capurro of the Steinbeis-Transfer-Institute of Information Ethics told BBC News that the findings were interesting, if someone was allowed to gain online access to your implant there could be serious implications. Capurro went on to say, "From an ethical point of view, the surveillance of implants can be both positive and negative," he said. "Surveillance can be part of medical care, but if someone wants to do harm to you, it could be a problem."

Dr. Gasson is going to present his findings at the International Symposium for Technology and Society in Australia next month.

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55 Comments

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hmm, makes me wonder if someone eventually might use an exploit in how RFID readers read chips and inject a payload that is stored on the chip into the reader and do stuff...and such. I'm drunk leave me alone. lol

FuhrerDarqueSyde said,
hmm, makes me wonder if someone eventually might use an exploit in how RFID readers read chips and inject a payload that is stored on the chip into the reader and do stuff...and such. I'm drunk leave me alone. lol

Give the drunk guy another shot! he actually got the point of the article , where those who were not inebriated failed.

Yes there would be implications if an implant with a microchip was infected, but you don't need to inject yourself like this to make that point. This is just a stupid gimmick used to make a point.

Treemonkeys said,
Yes there would be implications if an implant with a microchip was infected, but you don't need to inject yourself like this to make that point. This is just a stupid gimmick used to make a point.

It worked. You got the point as did a few other readers.

Pam14160 said,

It worked. You got the point as did a few other readers.

Not really a gimmick because I doubt he did it just for that. The thing can be reprogrammed while it is still in him so he can restore it to what it should be used for to do other tests.

Pam14160 said,

It worked. You got the point as did a few other readers.

A virus can cause a computer to malfunction and if your health depends on that computer the virus would be hazardous to your health, kind of obvious, no injections needed lol

SputnikGamer said,

Not really a gimmick because I doubt he did it just for that. The thing can be reprogrammed while it is still in him so he can restore it to what it should be used for to do other tests.

Exactly. It's likely he had it implanted earlier simply because, well, that's what he's researching. What better way than to have a chip yourself?

Silverskull said,
Exactly. It's likely he had it implanted earlier simply because, well, that's what he's researching. What better way than to have a chip yourself?

Otherwise the media would have a field day.
"Researcher recommends chip implants as totally safe"
Researcher: everyone should get one!
Media: So why don't you have one in you?
Researcher: yea about that....

Half the people here did not even read the article before commenting and we are surprised that politicians don't read the laws they comment on and bills they sign in to law ? What a surprise !

For those Einsteins here thinking somehow the computer virus is going to infect the human host you are dead wrong. There are pacemakers available that have wireless monitoring and anything with wireless communication can be hacked in to. That is the gist of the article.

"if someone was allowed to gain online access to your implant there could be serious implications"

Don't be like politicians ! RTFA before you spout off !

Haha, read the damn article AND watch the video people. Its funny how people just love commenting for the sake of commenting. O.o

Anyway, I don't get the concept of introducing the term "Virus" in the the video at all. He could have really just talked about the medical advancements, simple applications and about the potential threats.

Simpletons like these...

Ishanx said,
Haha, read the damn article AND watch the video people. Its funny how people just love commenting for the sake of commenting. O.o

Anyway, I don't get the concept of introducing the term "Virus" in the the video at all. He could have really just talked about the medical advancements, simple applications and about the potential threats.

Simpletons like these...

I think it's more because of the sensationlist bs headline.

TRC said,

I think it's more because of the sensationlist bs headline.

Not at all, more like just stupid people. Headlines are supposed to be attention grabbers. If the headline didn't grab your attention, then the author didn't do it right. The headline is not at fault for peoples comments, the people are at fault for jumping to conclusions and not properly getting their facts straight.

Edited by shakey, May 27 2010, 4:11pm :

Great technology but indeed a lot of potential risks..
but as there are only a few people with such a chip in the whole world, there is not danger yet and the security of those chips will become better

TrOjAn. said,
Great technology but indeed a lot of potential risks..
but as there are only a few people with such a chip in the whole world, there is not danger yet and the security of those chips will become better

Would suck in the future to start having heat attacks or strokes due to a hacker messing with your chip. Or if there was somehow a chip in the brain, then if a hacker was able to control the persons movements with some code.... Ghost in the Shell type stuff lol.

Rodrigo said,
My god people, YOU ARE STUPID. RTFA and then comment.

I'm having a great time reading these post. Wonder how many more will show up and comment on the title and not the actual article that it details lol.

shakey said,

I'm having a great time reading these post. Wonder how many more will show up and comment on the title and not the actual article that it details lol.


To many. . .

Pam14160 said,

To many. . .

It's actually a really good title considering the point of titles, you know, to gain attention. Virus in chip. Chip in body. Virus in body. Not hard jump to make.

SputnikGamer said,

It's actually a really good title considering the point of titles, you know, to gain attention. Virus in chip. Chip in body. Virus in body. Not hard jump to make.

Wait .. Wait... Wait... you lost me at virus in chip

HAHA at all the people who fail at reading stores....
This is not about him having a virus at all, did you just decide to miss the whole point?
This article is about how as we progress in technology and start using chips in implants, the affect that hackers and viruses can cause on a person using such technology could be devastating.

shakey said,
HAHA at all the people who fail at reading storIes....
This is not about him having a virus at all, did you just decide to miss the whole point?
This article is about how as we progress in technology and start using chips in implants, the affect that hackers and viruses can cause on a person using such technology could be devastating.

Missed a I in storIes

the MEDIA are making this into a JOKE!! there in nothing like this, he has a chip in his body, and it got a virus? how most likey he placed it in there after downloading some porn onto it, to hide it from his INTERNET GIRLFRIEND!!! ALSO

njlouch said,
Just no. The virus and the human never interacted. It's the same as storing it in his pocket. Also, was posted yesterday albeit not as news.

+1 untill we have atoms working in how body as computer parts then there will never be a problem with getting a computer virus for the human body!!

lflashl said,
the MEDIA are making this into a JOKE!! there in nothing like this, he has a chip in his body, and it got a virus? how most likey he placed it in there after downloading some porn onto it, to hide it from his INTERNET GIRLFRIEND!!! ALSO


+1 untill we have atoms working in how body as computer parts then there will never be a problem with getting a computer virus for the human body!!

This story is no joke, but those who don't read it are......

Lamp0 said,
Looks like a lot of people didn't even bother reading the article or watching the video.

Yep, it's pretty sad. The title of the article is terrible, but that's no excuse for ignoring the content.

LaP said,
My thought exactly

Amazing isn't it. Like 90% of the responses are not even about this story but the title.... lets learn to read people, I thought the community here was a little better than that....

Lamp0 said,
Looks like a lot of people didn't even bother reading the article or watching the video.

Apparently it is a bad thing to use a catchy title to gain the attention of readers. They should rename it to "Computer chip gets virus" According to half the posts here that's how you get readers... with boring titles. Even better idea, lets not use titles at all! Titles are meant to gain attention people. Virus in chip. Chip in body. Virus in body... apparently that is to far of a jump for half the people on neowin to understnad.

The reporting of this is sensationalist nonsense. The human doesn't have a virus at all, its just rubbish.

That's like saying if I swallow a USB memory stick that had a virus on it (not that I'd ever do that of course), then I'm infected with a virus. It's just a load of rot.

TCLN Ryster said,
The reporting of this is sensationalist nonsense. The human doesn't have a virus at all, its just rubbish.

That's like saying if I swallow a USB memory stick that had a virus on it (not that I'd ever do that of course), then I'm infected with a virus. It's just a load of rot.

It would help if you read the article and not just the title.
'"From an ethical point of view, the surveillance of implants can be both positive and negative," he said. "Surveillance can be part of medical care, but if someone wants to do harm to you, it could be a problem."'

Has nothing to do with "catching" a computer virus, and everything to do with any kind of electronic implant.

WICKO said,

It would help if you read the article and not just the title.
'"From an ethical point of view, the surveillance of implants can be both positive and negative," he said. "Surveillance can be part of medical care, but if someone wants to do harm to you, it could be a problem."'

Has nothing to do with "catching" a computer virus, and everything to do with any kind of electronic implant.


I know what the story is about. I was referring to the way it is being reported everywhere, and the headlines people are writing for the story.

Just no. The virus and the human never interacted. It's the same as storing it in his pocket. Also, was posted yesterday albeit not as news.

Exactly, what difference is it between carrying a computer in your hand and putting it under your skin? His body doesn't even interact with the chip. In order for it to infect his body the computer virus would have to start attacking his cells. Since computer viruses are just electrical pulses this is an impossibility.

Solid Knight said,
His body doesn't even interact with the chip. In order for it to infect his body the computer virus would have to start attacking his cells. Since computer viruses are just electrical pulses this is an impossibility.

It not about the chip itself, but how more technology into implants in the body (pacemakers for example) could be at risk, and a pacemaker would defiantly interact with the body

Sparky Marky said,

It not about the chip itself, but how more technology into implants in the body (pacemakers for example) could be at risk, and a pacemaker would defiantly interact with the body

How is this related? Does the pacemaker carry a compatible chip?

njlouch said,

How is this related? Does the pacemaker carry a compatible chip?

At the moment, I would assume not. But isn't the point here that it's been done with this chip, and so there is the possibility that in the future a pacemaker's chip could be compromised in the same way? In this situation the chip in his body wasn't attached to a device that required him to live, but if the virus could be modified to affect a pacemaker...

I'm taking this article as a warning. If people don't consider the possibilities of what they put in to implants, there is the possibility that the implants can be compromised. Going with that idea, this article is nothing other than (as the scientist said) a proof of concept.

Intrinsica said,

At the moment, I would assume not. But isn't the point here that it's been done with this chip, and so there is the possibility that in the future a pacemaker's chip could be compromised in the same way? In this situation the chip in his body wasn't attached to a device that required him to live, but if the virus could be modified to affect a pacemaker...

I'm taking this article as a warning. If people don't consider the possibilities of what they put in to implants, there is the possibility that the implants can be compromised. Going with that idea, this article is nothing other than (as the scientist said) a proof of concept.

There already are pacemakers that have wireless connection so that doctors can monitor a patient's condition and make changes to the pacemaker. As such, those are definitely something to be wary of considering that they pretty much give a malicious person direct access to your heart, meaning they could possibly send you into cardiac arrest and what-not.

Luckily, such a thing has yet to be exploited, but I believe that's what this person implies with his test.