How Can a Man Get Infected by a Computer Virus?

In 2010 Mark Gasson, a University of Reading researcher, became the first known human being to be infected by a computer virus. You might be wondering how such a thing could be possible. Humans infected by computer viruses? 

The intentional experiment was performed as a way to illustrate how radio-frequency identification chips (RFID) can not only be vulnerable to viruses, but spread them as well.

How Can a Man Get Infected by a Computer Virus

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How Can a Man Get Infected by a Computer Virus?

What Gasson did was contract the virus into a chip implanted in his hand which then passed into a laboratory computer. If allowed to propagate, it was determined the virus could have spread into other chips found in building access cards ( About his experiment Gasson had said:

 “The virus replicates itself through the database and potentially could copy itself onto the access cards that people use” and stated,”The experiment showed that implants which wirelessly communicate with other computers can infect them and vice versa”.  [1]

In our increasingly tech-savvy society where the lines between the traditional and virtual worlds are continually blurring, when you think about it, a human being infected by a computer virus doesn’t sound all that off the wall.

Security experts over the past few years have determined that hackers can hack into automobiles, chips have been used in all sorts of body implants and in tracking animals, not to mention the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the rice-sized VeriChip back in 2004 for human implantation. [2] The latter is not currently produced or being marketed, however, it’s already been out there and could conceivably make a comeback, or another company step in and pick up the proverbial reigns on human chip embedding.  

Over the course of time as technology continues to rapidly progress, the boundaries of reality and virtual continue to blend and what once seemed like science fiction in the past is not so far-fetched anymore. According to the article in, Gasson said (at the time) he was not aware of any bionic devices contaminated by viruses however felt the threat would continue to become more of a viable one as devices become more complex.  

If you think about it, perhaps it was only a matter of time before a human caught a computer bug. Chances are devices are going to become even more widely used which means a higher risk of infection if those intent on spreading viruses for whatever reason set their sites on doing so. The line between man and computer is steadily blurring.

What’s concerning is the thought of how much technology is being used for multiple purposes, including life-supporting or enhancing ones and, if cars can be hacked and humans can theoretically catch viruses, it makes one wonder what lies in the future?

Not to mention the new markets for virus and firewalls will emerge in the decades ahead. Today to protect themselves people have to scan their computers, mobile devices and other devices regularly. Refrigerators and baby monitors have even been hacked in recent years, along with several other things you may not know can be hacked.

Will we soon have to scan ourselves several times a day as well?

Something to think about.



Live Science, May 26, 2010 “Man Infects Himself with Computer Virus”

Washington Post, Oct. 14, 2004, “Implantable Medical ID Approved By FDA”

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