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Scientist claims to have become infected with a computer virus

26 May 2010  |  14048 views  |  2 biometrics - eye

A British scientist at the University of Reading is claiming to be the first human being to have become infected with a computer virus

According to the BBC, Dr Mark Gasson, a senior research fellow working at the university's Cybernetic Intelligence Research Group, implanted an RFID chip containing what he claimed to be virus code into his hand.

The device, which enables him to pass through security doors and activate his mobile phone, is a sophisticated version of ID chips used to tag pets.

In trials, Gasson showed that the chip was able to pass on the computer virus to external control systems.

If other implanted chips had then connected to the system they too would have been corrupted, he told the BBC.

Gasson's research has, however, raised hackles in computer security circles. Graham Cluley of Sophos accuses Gasson of scaremongering and passing off "shonky" research.

"Yes, you could put software code on an RFID chip that you could put in your body (or your cat, as some Dutch researchers theorised in rather hysterical fashion back in 2006) but so what?" he says. "Frankly, I've got more chance of being flattened by a falling grand piano than I have of getting my dog virus-infected next time I take him to the vets."

First human infected with computer virus - BBC

Comments: (2)

Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson - Lockstep Group - Sydney | 26 May, 2010, 12:22

Yup, that would be the stupidest report I've seen in a long time.  And maybe the stupidest research.  They say it has important lessons for implantable medical devices.  Ummmm ... then why not study implantable medical devices, not RFIDs? 

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Peter Roberts
Peter Roberts - UCL - London | 26 May, 2010, 14:21

This reminded me of Professor Kevin Warwick, also from Reading Uni who has some previous form in similar rather outrageous claims - try Googling for Captain Cyborg! It is depressing that the BBC and other mainstream media don't challenge it properly. Or at all. Is it the silly season already?

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