Univeristy of ReadingUntil now we’ve always believed that computer virus infects just the computer. But a recent experiment from the University of Reading has voiced appalling results, as it suggests that Dr Mark Gasson, from the School of Systems Engineering has been allegedly infected by a computer virus.

The scientist was apparently conducting an experiment to determine human enhancement and the risks of implantable devices. As part of the experiment, last year he inserted an adulterated high-end Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) computer chip into his left hand. This chip is known to be less sophisticated and is employed in shop security tags to prevent theft and to identify missing pets.

Dr Gasson commented, “Our research shows that implantable technology has developed to the point where implants are capable of communicating, storing and manipulating data. They are essentially mini computers. This means that, like mainstream computers, they can be infected by viruses and the technology will need to keep pace with this so that implants, including medical devices, can be safely used in the future.”

The results are ascertained to be medically beneficial since implanting computer technologies can be probably utilized in heart pacemakers and cochlear implants, and as new applications that are claimed to aid healthy humans. The scientist suggested that as technology of various implants advance, they may result in becoming vulnerable to computer viruses.

Dr Gasson said, “By infecting my own implant with a computer virus we have demonstrated how advanced these technologies are becoming and also had a glimpse at the problems of tomorrow. Much like people with medical implants, after a year of having the implant, I very much feel that it is part of my body. While it is exciting to be the first person to become infected by a computer virus in this way, I found it a surprisingly violating experience because the implant is so intimately connected to me but the situation is potentially out of my control.”

The chip permitted him to gain secure access to the University building and his mobile phone not only that, it empowered to track and profile him too. As soon as the chip was infected it seemed to corrupt the entire system, which was initially used to contact with the chip. Even if other devices would be connected to the system, they too would be corrupted by the chip. It should be realized that this experiment possibly means that humans can become a part of machines and come with their own set of new threats.

The results will be presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society in Australia by Dr, Gasson himself.