May 26, 2010, 10:34 AM — 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 implanted in his hand with the virus and then transmitted it to a PC to prove that malware can move between human and computer.
Chips that can be implanted into the body have been around for a while, and Gasson uses one in place of a security pass to gain secure access to the building, and to activate his mobile phone. But he says the implications for computer viruses in implants are far-reaching, and could potentially affect those with pacemakers and other medical devices.
Speaking to the BBC, Gasson said someone with an infected chip implant could potentially infect someone else, while a person with two devices under the skin could run the risk of viruses passing between the two chips.
"With the benefits of this type of technology come risks," Gasson told the BBC. "We may improve ourselves in some way but much like the improvements with other technologies, mobile phones for example, they become vulnerable to risks."