Man Implants Computer Virus in Body to Reveal New form of Hacking

Dennis Faas's picture

A researcher at the UK's University of Reading has given new meaning to the term "having caught a virus." Dr. Mark Gasson has actually self-implanted an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip into his wrist, and then purposely infected it with a computer virus.

The virus itself was installed onto a corrupt RFID tagging chip. This is the same kind of tracking mechanism that is sometimes embedded into pets to help identify them if they become lost. The device works by using electromagnetic energy to transmit small amounts of data. For pets, however, the data is simple code that corresponds with the pet's identification.

Dr. Gasson believes that if corrupt RFID chips function in pets, it is reasonable to assume that they will work in humans, too.

However, this raises a new question: Why on earth would someone want to implant a corrupt RFID tag in their body?

New Means of Cyber Warfare

The answer reveals a new means of cyber warfare. Before corruption, the tiny, rice-sized wonder had the ability to unlock phones and open security doors. With this type of convenience, Gasson believes that people would one day flock to get RFID tags embedded in their bodies - similar to cosmetic surgery. (Source:

By installing the virus onto the RFID chip, Gasson unveiled how some might use this "new kind of convenience" to hack into other forms of technology, just by standing next to a device.

Self-Implantation Not Necessary

Analysts have criticized Gasson, saying that the same results would have likely been generated had he attached the RFID to jewelry or eyeglasses.

Gasson remains adamant that the research is worthwhile. If the RFID tags were found to be able to corrupt other devices around them, this might prove fatal for people with pacemakers and cochlear implants, for example. (Source:

Gasson has admitted that some RFID tags are already used in medical alert bracelets as well.

His research was meant to inform the public of the dangers such corruption could spell; however, no concrete findings suggest humans could affect other technological devices just by standing in close proximity to them.

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