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Scientist Infects Self With Computer Virus 393

Posted by samzenpus
from the norton-antiseptic dept.
superapecommando writes "A British scientist claims to have become the first human to be infected by a computer virus, in an experiment he says has important implications for the future of implantable technology. Dr Mark Gasson from the University of Reading infected a computer chip with the virus, then implanted it in his hand and transmitted the virus to a PC to prove that malware can move between human and computer."

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Scientist Infects Self With Computer Virus

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  • stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:08AM (#32347262)

    just plain stupid

  • epic fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:09AM (#32347274)
    this sounds like that cyborg man retard from a few years ago.
    • Re:epic fail (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:28AM (#32347594)

      Do you mean Kevin Warwick [wikipedia.org]? Funnily enough he's also from the University of Reading.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by metacell (523607)

        Oh my god! He's got the virus too!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        Ah, I thought Captain Cyborg was from the University of Writing, or possible Aithmetic.

      • Re:epic fail (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @11:18AM (#32349014) Homepage

        I recall reading an article by an actual academic who described Warwick and Reading as an "embarrassing distraction". Mind you, I can't remember his name, but everybody knows about Captain Cyborg, so I guess Warwick has achieving his primary goal: self promotion.

        I do object to calling anyone associated with Warwick a "scientist" though. The level of their (published) research isn't even up to Mythbusters standards. Playing around with £10 of gubbins from Maplin then injecting it under your skin does not make you a cyborg, just a cretin.

  • stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afitz2 (1804268) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:09AM (#32347292)
    OK that's pretty stupid.
    • Re:stupid (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:16AM (#32347408)

      It is quite scary actually. This proves many things.

      1. Flesh is not a valid software firewall. We need upgrades.
      2. The human body can't fight off computer viruses with our immune system.
      3. His body didn't alert him of the virus. No fever or any symptom.

      I, for one, am quite scared of these recent events. How can you discount him so easily? If I get a pace maker and someone is able to root it - how will I know?

    • Re:stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bondsbw (888959) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:18AM (#32347450)

      So he takes a computer that can accept new software, inserts it in his hand, and puts new software on it. How novel.

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      I did see this wonderful piece of "news" being submitted to Slashdot about ten times in three hours.

      I did feel better seing it wasn't finally accepted.

      Now here we are, commenting on the amazing breakthrough it means for the human race.

  • No, really (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JamesP (688957) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:11AM (#32347310)

    What a fscking moron

    Or a show-off.

    Or better, a fscking show-off moron

    I couldn't think of anything more irrelevant, like, REALLY

    I mean, this is Uri Geller type of BS

    The mind boggles.

    • by dunezone (899268) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:15AM (#32347402) Journal
      Lets just hope Michael Bay doesn't read this story.
    • It won't surprise you to learn that Dr. Gasson's Lab at Whiteknights is only a few miles from Mr. Geller's residence in Sonning. If you want to find out what other idiocy the cybernetics department of the University of Reading have been up to, do a quick search for "Kevin Warwick".

    • No, not really (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @11:09AM (#32348886) Journal

      Well, no, this fails to be even Uri Geller kind of BS. Uri Geller was a fraud, but he knew how to put on a good show and sell an illusion that was actually quite appealing. In fact, a notion that many people wanted desperately to believe in.

      And even if you didn't believe in magic, it was at least very interesting as in trying to figure out "where's the trick"? Before Randi went and showed how it's done, it wasn't obvious at all to us non-trained in the conjuror arts. It was a good trick.

      But this guy and Captain Cyborg... words fail me. Really.

      I'm a SF fan. I like the idea of cyborgs and all. I like the idea of transferring information directly from a machine to a human and viceversa, though I must qualify it there: to a human brain. I'm even willing to entertain the notion of human consciousness transferred to a machine -- though not to the extent of being a techno-rapture cultist or anything. Etc.

      I should be exactly the market target for this kind of stuff. Except not _this_ kind of retarded stuff.

      Someone thinking that implanting an RFID chip under the skin makes him Captain Cyborg, or this guy thinking that storing a computer virus on a chip under his skin makes him "infected"... isn't even funny. It's ridiculous, stupid, and just a complete non-sequitur for the actual topic of cyborgs. A guy with a pacemaker or hearing aid is actually more of a "cyborg" because those actually interface with the living tissue and perform a function. A chip that's under the skin but not actually connected to anything biological just is not it.

      It doesn't even leave you thinking "what is the trick" or "good trick", because there is no trick. It's just a bad case of equivocation. It's transfer from PC to human only by virtue of the vagueness of the phrase, rather than any useful sense or interesting sense.

      If we're to talk Uri Geller comparison, guys like these are more like the equivalent of some guy claiming he's the first guy to eat with his arse. So he shoves a spoon's handle up his arse, takes it out, and then eats something with that spoon.

      It's freaking sad, that's what it is.

  • The implications of this being that.....what? When The Evil Government (tm) infuses us all with tracking chips, we open up ourselves to being hacked?

    I can see it now....

    Can new RFID technology lead to making you or your families ZOMBIES of the federal government? TONIGHT on Glenn Beck!
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      The Feds want you a Zombie during your productive life ... lots of TV, sport, 2 party voting, FOX or MSNBC and patriotism. The cost problems start when your older and on the pension.
      Cardiologist has a portable device to report back on the state of a pacemaker like device.
      Scans over skin, gets device to report back data.
      Portable device gets a "net update" - pretty graphs and a new portable e record interface.
      Families find out grandparents over a set age under federal government care get a little extra c
  • by rotide (1015173) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:11AM (#32347332)

    Infect chip.
    Implant chip.
    Get chip to infect computer.

    How was it ever contracted, let alone transmitted by the human? You could wear the chip as a necklace, tie it to a paper airplane, or just throw it and get the same results.

  • Proves nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:12AM (#32347334)
    All he showed was that a computer virus can be transmitted from an implanted computer to an external computer. The scientist did not infect himself with a computer virus, he infected a chip that he had implanted in himself. If it is news to you that a computer chip implanted in a person can be infected with a computer virus, then this is the wrong board for you.
    • Re:Proves nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:17AM (#32347428) Homepage Journal

      As Tyler Durden said, "Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken."

      -Peter

    • by nkh (750837)

      a computer virus can be transmitted from an implanted computer to an external computer.

      He infected "something" external to a computer, like floppies (during the 70s and 80s), USB keys and CD-Roms (90s and now), and even other computers on the internet. But it's in his own skin, therefore it must be new and scary.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      Where is Funny modifier for a straightest face, deadliest pan?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      I think it's better to view this as two distinct discoveries:

      1) He showed that a computer virus can be transmitted from one computer to another.

      So, something even the most computer illiterate person has known for decades.

      2) He showed that having one of the computers inside a living organism doesn't grant it magic anti-virus powers and somehow prevent (1).

      Something only the remarkably and creatively crazy ever thought wouldn't be the case.

      I'm pretty impressed at the banality.

      Next up for the illustrious Unive

  • by MacroSlopp (1662147) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:12AM (#32347336)
    If we're looking for firsts....
    I once had a cold and sneezed on my keyboard.
    Does that make me the first human to infect a computer???
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      thats nothing - imagine all the STD's keyboard's would have if you could transmit human to computer virus....
    • by Zedrick (764028)
      Uhm. Do you really think you were the first person ever to sneeze on a keyboard?
    • You probably were not the first to infect a computer by sneezing on a keyboard... but you may have destroyed the internet when you did that. ... why are you so sure?

  • by Vekseid (1528215) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:12AM (#32347338) Homepage
    Or was the good doctor merely going after being 'first' at something?
  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:13AM (#32347354)
    We're still far off from GITS's brain hacking. His biological functions remain entirely unaffected, as he is merely carrying the infected chip with him. Effectively, he might as well just be keeping a passcard with an infected smartchip in his wallet, the result would be the same.
  • SPAM coming from his ass? Literally?
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      SPAM coming from his ass? Literally?

      Yuck,
      is that where they get it from?

      • by vlm (69642)

        No, you get worms from fecal matter not spam. Although a remarkable amount of factoryfarmed "meat" contains fecal matter, its mostly from the bowels of the slaughtered animals as opposed to human, as far as I know.

        • Although a remarkable amount of factoryfarmed "meat" contains fecal matter

          So does the do-it-yourself butchered meat. Except, that you don't have government standards for that group to give you the oooh they have a minimum value that is greater than zero which means they WANT it in there, scare factor.

          It's as if there wasn't a high temperature process that helps us kill off the harmful microbes prior to consuming the food.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:13AM (#32347364) Homepage

    How is this different from transmitting a virus via floppy diskette, other than the fact that he carried it on the inside of his hand, and the read/write mechanism was RF instead of magnetic?

  • by elrous0 (869638) *
    He only "proved" that a computer virus can move onto a writeable computer chip. We've only known that for how many decades now? Nice theater, though.
  • "A British scientist claims to have become the first human to be infected by a computer virus, in an experiment he says has important implications for the future of implantable technology. Dr Mark Gasson from the University of Reading infected a computer chip which was then implanted in his hand with the virus and then transmitted it to a PC to prove that malware can move between human and computer."

    This is the first time a computer chip implanted in a human has passed a virus onto a PC.

    And did we really need a proof of concept of this? File it under 'Fucking-Duh'

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:17AM (#32347432) Journal
    Is for this researcher to be the first to contract the metavirus when it arrives...
  • What a fucking idiot. Seriously.

    Now, if, and I mean -if- he had a chip that was actually wired to his nerves and he got that infected with a virus then maybe I could see the point.

    Personally, I think we should wire something up to his eyes so we can tell him how fucking stupid he is in scrolling, blinking text.

  • In other news, chimpanzee learns sign language by listening to Metallica. To achieve this, researchers simply taught the chimpanzee sign language while playing Metallica.

  • by theVP (835556) * on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:19AM (#32347458)
    The article is just worded poorly. It implies that he actually contracted a computer virus, just like any human virus.

    All he really did was just implant a chip in his hand that had a virus on it. Then he demonstrated that the chip would actually transmit the virus. Which isn't really a huge shock, since he was using it to communicate with other devices in the first place. According TFA, he used it for security passes and his phone.

    So, at some point, he turned this into: "Pacemakers are at risk"....which, since they're not communication devices...no, no they're not.

    Sounds to me like someone lost their grant money or something, and was trying to justify eating doughnuts for 3 years and doing nothing else.
  • ...thought experiments are sufficient.
  • by coolmoose25 (1057210) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:21AM (#32347494)
    I agree with everyone that this demonstration was stupid... But the bigger question here deserves to be discussed - implanted devices CAN be infected with viruses, and we have to be careful about that... Implanted devices are becoming more and more common - it's not just pacemakers anymore. There was an article in Wired recently about the drive to create a "smart" insulin pump, one that would sense your blood sugar level and then adjust insulin delivery accordingly. This will become more and more common as we apply technology to "curing" disease... Keeping that technology virus free should be a high priority, especially as this technology gets integrated in more complex ways.
  • Epic fail. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bynary (827120) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:22AM (#32347504) Homepage
    Wake me up when someone has actually infected an organic organism at the cellular level with an honest to goodness computer virus made up of 0s and 1s (which is theoretically possibly since the human body controls itself in large part by electric pulses sent from the brain).
  • If i'd eat an infected USB disk, id get the same result?

    If I'd cough some influenza on my keyboard id get the same (yet reciprocal) result?

    Idle is indeed the word.

  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:25AM (#32347550) Homepage Journal

    http://www.google.com/search?q=captain+cyborg [google.com]

    Ah, without clicking on any links (we have to stop feeding that fraud), google let me know this was the work of his sidekick, not him directly. Now, I demand that this fraud be fully identified in all future slashdot posts about him or his minions (an addendum to this thread would be wise, too), because HE'S A FUCKING CHARLATAN!

    Seriously, he called himself the "first cyborg" for putting an RFID chip in his skin years after people have had pacemakers, cochlear implants, and fucking wires in their brains (for vision to the blind and computer communications for the paralyzed). All reporters who called him "the first cyborg" should be fired, all "news" outlet that published that crap should be fined and stripped of all journalistic-perks (press passes, immunity from certain police procedures, etc). He's an attention whore who pulls these stupid publicity stunts to promote his books, stop helping him with his frauds.

    • by GrahamCox (741991)
      You are quite correct, it's just a (very) lame stunt. It might help to put thing sin perspective - Uni of Reading is not exactly Ivy League, if you get my drift.
  • So... (Score:3, Funny)

    by yellekc (819322) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:25AM (#32347554)
    If I swallow my thumb drive containing all my favorite programs, would they come out decompiled?
  • So, what, you proved that flesh can't block radio signals? Good job there moron, we've only known that for about 100 years or so.

    God, I can't wait until the mainstream media gets wind of this one. The stupid, it will burn.

  • It would be fun to design a chip in your throat (think auto-tuning for voice cords' diseases), that has the ability to emit chemicals (to offset the hypothetical disease) and detect the current level of chemicals in the throat (for the purposes of negative feedback in order to control the normal level of drugs in the throat).

    The chip is run by the software of course.

    The virus would modulate chemical release with the ability to kill the host or send a digital virus sequence via modulated chemical signal to a

  • I think i'm safe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 228e2 (934443) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:30AM (#32347642)
    . . . my body runs Linux afterall :)
  • Why not just swallow it then remove it from the toilet, less surgery, and the same damn thing. Just bizarre what people do sometimes.
  • Simple carrier (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zen-Mind (699854) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:40AM (#32347732)
    That is probable one of the biggest piece of false-science I have ever seen in years. The exact same thing could have been done with any compromised wireless device; the fact that the chip is under his skin is completely irrelevant. People helping to carry computer viruses have been around for decades, remember those floppies of shareware with virus on them??? Come-on!
  • Get back to me when he infects his pacemaker, or muscle controller, or drug release system, etc etc.

  • Dude has a crappy computer chip in him that has a virus on it. Now what? Will he try to get rid of the virus? Will he try and take the chip out?

    He has a useless computer chip in his body. That has got to suck.

    Imagine him trying to brag to people about it:
    "I have a computer chip implanted in me." "Cool, what does it do?" "Nothing, it is infected with a computer virus."

    FAIL
  • by Crashmarik (635988) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:47AM (#32347828)
    Makes about as much sense as flying mega shark.
  • by metacell (523607) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:49AM (#32347852)

    What is it with nerds and implanting technology into their bodies? It doesn't seem to have much to do with practical use. Is it some kind of power fantasy?

  • All Time Low (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hpycmprok (219527)

    For me, this post and summary is an all time low for Slashdot.

    Maybe if the summary had said "check out how stupid this is..."

    Geeze. C'mon. What if somebody has their abdomen opened up and puts an entire laptop in there? What's the difference?

  • Are there any 2-D bar codes with enough capacity, and a bar code reader system with enough security holes, that I could get a tattoo on my arm that could infect random windows boxes?

  • by malice (82026) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:54AM (#32347946) Homepage

    And for his next trick, Dr Mark Gasson will insert an Atari 2600 controller into his anus, and proceed to control a Windows PC's mouse cursor with it. This is the first time a human has ever taken over control of a computer with the twitching of their rectal wall, and demonstrates the need for anal computer security.

    All hail scientific achievement.

  • BS-level "science" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:54AM (#32347956)

    What we do not need in the IT security field is stupid publicity stunts.

  • OK, gone too far. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Like2Byte (542992) <Like2Byte@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @10:07AM (#32348106) Homepage

    I'm not one to complain about /. editors; but, come on!

    This is "News for Nerds - Stuff That Matters." Did CN just hire some recent college grads that majored in Type-Writer Maintenance and wouldn't know the difference between HD Memory and computer memory?

    Just....plain....stupid.

  • No.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rickb928 (945187) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @10:28AM (#32348374) Homepage Journal

    I'm never going to infect my computer with a rhinovirus, or a common cold, or polio. It's not going to get smallpox (even in the lab), chickenpox, or herpes.

    When we start making computers out of biological components, then we can have this discussion. In the meantime, I could implant an infected chip in my shoe and make a claim.

    Stupid.

  • by Errtu76 (776778) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @11:05AM (#32348838) Journal

    and then i proved Man can core dump.

    Idiot.

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