Amid all the excitement and innovation surrounding human augmentation – particularly the growing use of bionic devices aiming to replace or augment parts of the human body with an artificial implant – there are legitimate fears among cybersecurity experts and the wider community. They are concerned that too little attention is paid to the security of the dedicated devices. This lack of awareness around the topic leads to uncertainty and risks for both further development of human augmentation technologies, and a safer digital world in the future.
Kaspersky has been continuously exploring the potential of human augmentation and evaluating security challenges that humanity may encounter during its wider integration into our lives. Following open discussions within the community, the company decided to respond to the specific need for security regulation and designed cybersecurity policy to mitigate security risks that augmentation technology can pose to corporate IT networks. The document, creates a scenario where augmented employees become more common in the company in the future, and takes into account Kaspersky’s real-life tests with employees’ biochip implants.
Developed by Kaspersky security experts, the policy governs procedures for using bionic devices* within the company and aims to reduce the associated cybersecurity risks in business processes. The proposed document addresses the entire company’s infrastructure and all of its business units. As a result, it applies to the full access control system, as well as administration processes, maintenance processes, and the use of automated systems. The policy is to be applied to both employees and temporary staff, as well as employees of third-party stakeholders that render contract services to the company. All these factors aim to enhance the cybersecurity of the corporate infrastructure on a larger level.
Marco Preuss, Director of Kaspersky’s Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT) in Europe, declared: "Human augmentation is a burgeoning area of technology which in fact remains underexplored. That’s why making a first step towards clarifying issues related to its use, as well as strengthening security, will help us to ensure its potential is used in a positive way. We believe that to build a safer digital world for tomorrow, we need to digitally secure the future of human augmentation today."
The cybersecurity policy initiated by Kaspersky offers a range of standardisation processes, enhancing security and granting better inclusion of employees using bionic devices when in the office. One of the major objectives of this initiative is also to engage the global IT and augmentation community in the discussion and pursue a collaborative effort for further steps of human augmentation security development. This includes ensuring digital privacy of devices, proving different levels of access rights to stored information, and mitigating any threats related to human health.
The next international discussion on the future of human augmentation, global industry policy, digital security standards, major digital threats that can affect augmented devices, as well as best practices to address them, will take place at the UN organised Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2021 on December 7, 2021.
For more information and to follow the online panel discussion, "The future of human augmentation: gain or 'cyber-pain'?", on December 7 at 5.30 CET, click here.
*Bionic devices covered by the cybersecurity policy include chip implants (e.g. such as an NFC biochip), bionic limb prostheses and internal organs, as well as artificial sensory organs (e.g. visual prostheses, hearing aids, etc.).