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Cyber Pop: Biohacking

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By: Olivia

August 24, 2017

In the not so distant past, opening doors with a wave of our hand seemed like something you’d see only in a Harry Potter film. Now, with biohacking, this ability has become possible. We are modifying human bodies to meet our technological needs. By embedding a microchip under your finger, you can open doors, unlock your computer, and even make purchases. Visionaries are thinking beyond these simple tasks to a future where keys and credit cards are obsolete.

What is biohacking?

Biohacking has been defined as a practice of combining biology with hacker ethics. That is, any advanced technique that uses science and technology to change human capabilities. A popular method is implanting a microchip under the skin on your finger.The idea behind it is that you can improve your biological makeup, similar to how you would improve your computer by upgrading the software. Those who participate in biohacking are considered ‘grinders.’ They ‘hack’ their own bodies in order to improve them with do-it-yourself cybernetic devices.“Many grinders identify with the biopunk movement, open-source transhumanism, and techno-progressivism. The Grinder movement is strongly associated with the body modification movement and practices actual implantation of cybernetic devices in organic bodies as a method of working towards transhumanism, such as designing and installing do-it-yourself body-enhancements such as magnetic implants.”

What is an example in recent news?

Alexander Volchek, who is an obstetrician/gynecologist, has already implanted at least six microchips underneath his skin in an attempt to turn his body into a ‘multi-functional gadget’ with the ability to perform various tasks with the wave of his hands, such as opening doors and automatically paying bills.So far, his implanted chips include:
  • Two chip to enter his office
  • One transport chip
  • Two memory cards for storing almost a kilobyte of information
  • One control card for a Siberian ski resort
Volchek says, “My dream as a crypto anarchist is to have an identification tool for encrypting an electronic signature, and of course for medical application. I also want an implanted glucometer that will resolve a ton of problems many are currently facing, but research is still underway.”

Why is biohacking so controversial?

Let’s face it. Any term with ‘hacking’ in it is going to cause the wrong connotation for some. Moreover, biohacking for many is considered a highly radical version of hacking which involves unregulated science.Despite your opinion on this experimentation, the fact is, biohacking may pose a security risk. With no government regulations and no legal ramifications for anyone who steals more than your data, but your biology, we are entering into unchartered territory.This is not to say that biohacking is all bad. Rather, it requires due diligence on us to ensure we are creating these microchips and techniques with security in mind. Since biohacking is relatively new, we must establish a precedent for how it is created, implemented and monitored.Patrick Mylund Nielsen, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky asks us to consider, “What happens when our private keys are under our skin? Can somebody become a virtual copy of me by shaking my hand?”Privacy is a top concern for security professionals and the general public alike, so the trepidation for many stems from the unknown of what could happen if one's microchip is hacked whereby hackers misuse this technology against the victim or public. Keeping in mind that with the advance in technology, the techniques leveraged by hackers and cyber criminals can also advance.Over two years ago, a hacker implanted a small NFC chip in his hand to hack Android smartphones and bypass almost all security measures, demonstrating the risks of biohacking.

How can I learn ethical hacking techniques?

Master the core techniques and technologies of ethical hacking and assess the security posture of systems in a lawful manner by becoming CEH certified. With the CYBRScore Ethical Hacking Essentials labs, you will build a well-rounded security skillset and develop the ability to protect systems using an ethical hacking methodology and framework as your line of defense.olivia2Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the infosec field and is working to make cyber security news more interesting. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.
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