Scientist infects self with computer virus

Yes, you read that right. The BBC reports that British scientist Dr Mark Gasson, of the University of Reading, has implanted an RFID chip into his hand – which he had previously infected with a computer virus. It may sound like an entirely fruitless exercise, but there’s much more to it than that one simple sentence implies.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips and their potential can not be explained quickly and easily; you can have a detailed look in Wikipedia. At a basic level however they are microchips, used for storage and transmission of information – location and movement of warehouse stock, for instance. RFID chips have already been implemented in certain medical bracelets in the US, with the idea that a person can be ‘scanned’ and have their medical history made available immediately – in the case of an emergency, for example.

Dr Gasson has used his RFID chip to identify himself remotely to electronic devices, e.g. security doors and his mobile phone. What he has shown by infecting his chip with a virus however, is that when the system his chip communicates with reads the information therein, it also reads – and becomes infected with – the virus. Furthermore, any and all other chips connected to the same system would then become infected. This only adds to the already long list of security and privacy concerns regarding RFID chips.

Reports that Dr Gasson initially implanted the chip because his wife wanted him to upgrade his firmware remain unconfirmed…

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.


  1. Ian D /

    What a brilliant way to demonstrate another flaw in the RFID system. At least until his eyes start glowing red and he browses a phone book looking for Connors.



  3. AKissFromDaddy /

    @ Ian D I agree.
    There is a so much potential for the abuse that crackers can exhibit on the RFID chips. I enjoyed reading this.

  4. that is very interesting, i can see that these RFID systems can have a huge benefit, glad to see that they are busy working out the kinks.

  5. xino /

    666, new world order in-coming in-bound

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