Technobabble is our look at the more colorful aspects of technology and the tech industry. Be sure to check out our most recent edition, which has microchips on the brain.
In the last few weeks humans became a part of the technological infrastructure with employee microchipping. Potential privacy concerns aside, employees of Three Square Market volunteered for the seemingly sci-fi microchipping.
While many of us would prefer to keep technical hardware outside our immediate biology, two DNA researchers decided to reverse that idea. In fact, they used DNA to infiltrate technology and their experiment proved successful.
This week, researchers from the University of Washington tested a self-inflicted malware attack within their DNA research lab, according to Wired. The team introduced malicious code into a sample of DNA that when tested by a gene sequencer, the resulting data became malware on the computer that received it.
In conducting their experiment, the researchers intentionally created a high-risk environment, susceptible to a “bioterrorist” attack. This included muting security programs and creating vulnerabilities in their software.
The attack is supposedly the first “DNA-based exploit of a computer system,” according to MIT Technology Review.
While genetic specialists have shrugged off the effort, claiming the attack was destined to succeed because of the controlled environment, it is now evident that such an attack is possible. Hackers could become biohackers or something even more sinister.
Vulnerabilities in security and software systems are common on the cybersecurity landscape. In fact, most cyberattacks depend on them, as was the case with May’s WannaCry attack. The only difference between the deliverance of a traditional cyberattack and a DNA attack, is their point of entry.
The University of Washington researchers are now arguing that biohackers could send faulty, manipulated or simply fake DNA samples with malicious encryptions to industries that study and store such data. These include college campuses, police forensics and genetic processing labs. The idea is that hackers, motivated by the plethora of personal data stored in these industries, could send maliciously coded DNA to be tested and thus infect computers and networks.
Previously, DNA scientists only had to worry about genetic miscalculations or those that could harm the human biology, not the safety of their computer software….