Ever wear one of those gamer headsets when destroying the enemy? Turns out you may be doing more than annihilating your opponent. Researchers found hackers can guess sensitive personal information from people wearing popular, consumer-grade EEG headsets. Yes, those "mind-reading" headsets for video games can allow bits of your memory to leak out. Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, Oxford University and the University of Geneva presented a paper on the topic at the Usenix security conference in Seattle earlier this month. In a study of 28 subjects wearing the headsets, they found they could guess such data as PIN numbers, birth month, and debit card numbers by looking amid their brain waves for a signal known as the P300 response, a electrical spike that typically appears close to 300 milliseconds after a stimulus the subject recognizes. The subjects were shown photos of ATM machines, debit cards, maps and other objects, as part of the study. And then their P300 response was monitored. “The correct answer was found by the first guess in 20% of the cases for the experiment with the PIN, the debit cards, people, and the ATM machine,” write the researchers. “The location was exactly guessed for 30% of users, month of birth for almost 60% and the bank based on the ATM machines for almost 30%.” Although these percentages are pretty low, it nonetheless shows that your brain can leak personal information when wearing these headsets. Of course, you could try to thwart the leakage by determinedly not
thinking about the photos shown, but we know that the idea may be leaked out as well.
Image: Crazy Gamer by Bigstock