Worry about cybercriminals getting into personal files and online banking accounts? Imagine if someone could actually extract that information directly from your brain. Scientists from the University of California and the University of Oxford in Geneva are working on developing technology that could hack or retrieve sensitive data from a person’s brain, such as PIN numbers and place of birth, by using a low-cost device. With the help of an off-the-shelf Emotiv brain-computer ($299) — a wireless head piece — researchers are able to track brain signals when someone is shown familiar messages. For example, scientists asked subjects to wear the device in front a computer screen that displayed a series of banks, maps and PIN numbers. A specific signal called P300 is omitted in the brain when someone recognizes a message, making it easier for researchers to cut down on random data points. “The captured EEG signal could reveal the user’s private information about bank cards, PIN numbers, area of living and the knowledge of the known persons,” the researchers said in a statement. “This is the first attempt to study the security implications of consumer-grade BCI devices. We show that the entropy of the private information is decreased on the average by approximately 15% – 40% compared to random guessing attacks.” ( By Samantha Murphy  from )