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A researcher at McAfee Security recently showed the ease by which insulin pumps can be hacked, potentially delivering fatal doses of the hormone to the diabetic patients who rely on these devices. Thought-controlled prosthetics and brain pacemakers will likely have wireless components (e.g. allowing users to remotely troubleshoot with a technician) that would make them susceptible to similar assault or even to abuse from their own users (e.g. addicts who hack their brain pacemakers to provide a 'high' by electrically stimulating the brain's reward centres.

The desire to harm through hacking is as popular as ever among the more malevolent members of our species. This was evidenced in 2008, when hackers infiltrated an epilepsy support message board with flashing animal graphics. Their intent was to trigger migraine headaches and seizures ? and they succeeded. It is likely there will be people who won't think twice about targeting devices inside the brain.

The likelihood that brain-machine interfaces will be subject to potentially deadly hacks has led some researchers to insist that 'neurosecurity' concerns be factored into the design of neuro-devices. This speaks to the need for governments to develop neurosecurity strategies.

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