Features of EEG Headsets

Studies from the researchers at the University of Alabama are implying brainwave sensing headsets ought to come available with better security, because hackers are able to obtain sensitive information by monitoring their brainwaves

Features of EEG Headsets

EEG headsets allow the users to only use their brains to control robotic toys and video games that were to be played using an EEG headset. There are only a few on the market though they range in pricing from $150 upwards to $1,000. Similarly, the technology is constantly advancing and scientists are looking at reducing the size for better applications so they will eventually become sand sized sensors within the brain.

Regardless of whether it is inside or not though, the devices work by measuring the electrical signals which are coming from the brain as it goes about its activities and converts these readings to input the commands for various applications such as wheelchairs and drones.


Hence, the reason for the University of Alabama study where 12 subjects were fitted with a currently available EEG headset and asked to enter series of random codes into a text box. This would be the simulation of logging into an online account.

Study Reveals Security Threats

As part of the study, a malicious software program was trained by taking cues from the typing of the user and corresponding brainwaves. According to associate professor, Nitesh Saxena, a hacker in a real world scenario would facilitate the training step as needed for the program to be the most accurate by requesting the user enter predefined sets of numbers so as to restart the game after it was paused so as to break in a similar manner to the way that CAPTCHA verification are utilized for users when they log onto websites or provide approval protocols.

The conclusion was after a user entered about 200 characters, the algorithms within the software program were able to make an educated guess as to the new characters the users had entered through monitoring the EEG information which was given.

The algorithm was then able to statistically uplift the odds for the hacker who gave a four digit numerical PIN from one in 10,000 to one in 20. In the case of a six letter password, the odds were decreased from one in 500,000 to one in 500.

Now the EEG headsets have been in the medical sector for more than five decades and thus far, they have been non-invasive as their objective is to record electrical activity within the brain. Considering it amplifies brain signals and records them in a wave pattern on a graph paper or central processing unit, it is popular within the entertainment and gaming industries.

The increasing potential for this technology is immense though it also raises significant security and privacy threats as the firms continue to work on more advanced interface technology.

Hackers would be able to access personal accounts and cause significant damage on individual and commercial scales. At this time, the only suggestions would have been provided to tackle the threat are for the EEG headset manufacturers to start disrupting their signals any time a user logs into their accounts and this would bring the security threat down from external interference.

[See More: Avast Claims Hackers Are Targeting Home IoT Devices]