These headsets use EEG technology to detect and acquire neuro-signals - brainwaves, and are already popular with gamers who simply "think" about their next move.
Researchers at the recent Usenix security conference in Washington state showed how these same devices can be used to detect information that people are trying to protect. Your brain sets off a certain wave if something important to you is discussed, and this particular brain wave can be detected by the headset. From the ExtremeTech article:
In this case, the security researchers — from the Universities of Oxford and Geneva, and the University of California, Berkeley — created a custom program that was specially designed with the sole purpose of finding out sensitive data, such as the location of your home, your debit card PIN, which bank you use, and your date of birth. The researchers tried out their program on 28 participants (who were cooperative and didn’t know that they were being brain-hacked), and in general the experiments had a 10 to 40% chance of success of obtaining useful information (pictured above).
This is a first, awkward step in brainwave detection. The subject has to wear one of these strange devices, and the investigator needs to say the pin number or password to successfully detect whether it means something to the subject. While these EEG devices are fantastic for assisting people who have disabilities, this lie-detection type use may have long-term privacy implications if it improves.
Article first published as Your Brain Can Be Hacked on Technorati.