Bioterrorists can trick scientists into producing dangerous toxins and viruses

(ORDO NEWS) — Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) conducted a study in which it examined the possibility of creating a cybercrime such as an online attack aimed at creating dangerous viruses or toxins. Scientists can develop something terrible without even realizing it.

Today, hackers have the ability to penetrate laboratory computers and make changes in synthetic DNA, which serves scientists for all sorts of experiments. Bioterrorists may well be able to bypass protocols designed to scan genetic material for malicious sequences. Such specialists are available, for example, in the US Department of Health and Human Services.

As part of the study, it was possible to quickly bypass the punctures due to the usual obfuscation procedure, which means obfuscation of the code. As a result, third-party DNA search software refused to work correctly. Of the 50 samples, 16 were not identified, although this was required by HHS recommendations.

To identify a number of vulnerabilities, experts analyzed many scenarios. The integrated approach took into account the weaknesses of several levels of the organization of the workflow in bioengineering: software, security screening and biological protocols. Scientists have managed to modify the DNA of the residual part of the Cas9 protein. The result was a pathogen that killed the healthy cells of the host.

With the advent of new technologies, labor productivity and efficiency increase, but along with this, the number of possible threats also increases. Today, many processes are controlled by computers, so experienced hackers, if they wish, can make their own “adjustments” to their work.


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