Using EEG-based BCI devices to subliminally probe for private information

Mario Frank, Tiffany Hwu, Sakshi Jain, Robert T. Knight, Ivan Martinovic, Prateek Mittal, Daniele Perito, Ivo Sluganovic, Dawn Song

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

EEG-based Brain-Computer-Interfaces are becoming available as consumer-grade devices, used in applications from gaming to learning programs with neuro-feedback loops. While enabling attractive applications, their proliferation introduces novel privacy concerns and security threats. One such example are attacks in which adversaries compromise EEG-based BCI devices and analyze the user's brain activity in order to infer private information such as their bank or area-of-living. In this paper, we propose and analyze a more serious threat-a subliminal attack in which, given that the visual probing lasts for less than 13.3 milliseconds, the existence of any stimulus is below ones cognitive perception. We show that even under such limitation, the attacker can still analyze subliminal brain activity in response to the rapid visual stimuli and consequently infer private information about the user. By running a proof-of-concept study with 27 participants, we experimentally evaluate the feasibility of subliminal attacks using EEG-based BCI devices. While not perfect, our results show that it is indeed feasible for attackers to subliminally learn probabilistic information about their victims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWPES 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, co-located with CCS 2017
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages133-136
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450351751
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 30 2017
Event16th ACM Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, WPES 2017 - Dallas, United States
Duration: Oct 30 2017 → …

Publication series

NameWPES 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, co-located with CCS 2017
Volume2017-January

Other

Other16th ACM Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, WPES 2017
CountryUnited States
CityDallas
Period10/30/17 → …

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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