Cyber Attacks to Trick Biologists and Researchers to Produce Toxins Unconsciously

SciTech Daily currently reports that the ‘end-to-end cyber-biology attack’ is possible to happen. It is a phenomenon where biologists are unconsciously tricked to generate dangerous toxins in their own laboratories. The phenomenon is discovered by a group of cyber researchers from Ben-Gurion University in Negev.

Based on the latest study in the area of Nature Biotechnology, it is believed that bio-criminals need to make physical contact with the elements by themselves to produce and send the toxins. However, due to the development of technology, another way to send the toxin is highly possible. Nature Biotechnology also explains an alternative of sending toxins without making direct contact.

The report also mentions the technology of Wanware that can replace the short substring of DNA on the biotechnology computer. This way, some biologists may simply create toxins with sequential orders. Of course, those biologists don’t realize that and they can just share their products without knowing damages and risks that can happen in the future.

The Control of the Production of Dangerous Substances

The head of the complex network analysis of Ben-Gurion University, Rami Puzis describes that the production and spreading of dangerous substances unconsciously can be experienced by all the researchers who deal with biology. However, the control of the production is possible to manage also. One of them is by checking the DNA sequence by synthetic gen suppliers. It is considered one of the most effective methods to control and to survive from any attack.

For this matter, California becomes the role model as it is considered very innovative this year. The state has regulated a new policy about the gen transaction. California’s step to prevent their areas from the toxin attack needs to be followed by other states to improve safety and security.

Although what has been done by California needs to appreciate, Puzis adds another possibility for the criminal to make further attacks. It is particularly if businesses and laboratories that buy DNA are not aware and don’t put effort to check DNA products after buying them. In other words, there are so many things to do to prevent and control the production of dangerous substances unconsciously.

Screening Protocols

Sadly, there is a weakness that is known well to have by the US Department of Health and Humanity Service. Currently, the guidance to provide DNA still enables criminals to avoid screening protocols by using generic disguising procedures. It causes screening software to find it more difficult to identify DNA that produces toxins.

According to Puzis, by applying such an approach, research that is conducted by his team finds that around 16 from 50 DNA samples are blurred. They cannot be identified based on the basic guide implemented by the HHS department.

Furthermore, the accessibility and automation of the synthetic gene engineering workflow are found. It is added by inadequate controls for the cyber world’s safety. Some matters above enable malware to burden the biology process in the laboratory where the loop is closed by various possibilities in DNA molecules.

The Danger of Some Biology Codes

The attack of DNA that is not realized by biologists also gives some bad effects or is dangerous significantly. It may produce dangerous codes that can change the biological procedure. No matter how simple the attack is, the biologists cannot have another option. They must choose to provide a scenario with some vulnerability in three levels of biotechnology. Those three levels include software, biosafety research, and biology protocols.

The special scenario also emphasizes a chance to implement knowledge of cyber safety in a new context including some biosecurity procedures and the absence of coding. In the same opportunity, Puzis also explains that the scenario highlights the importance of the synthetic DNA chain along with extra protections toward the threat of cyber-biology.

Fortunately, many researchers have realized that such an unconscious attack may be experienced by them also. Therefore, they suggest the method of screen algorithm improvements. Sure, but it is by considering some other aspects including the process of gene editing inside the gen. 

Besides, the researchers also expect that the phenomenon and further studies related to it will provide more facilities to avoid the attack to experience in the future. One of the facilities is to sequence DNA faster and more strongly as well as the availability of production services related to the synthetic cyber security genes. It needs support from many realms including governments and people, not only in the US but also from all around the world. Yes, the attack can be experienced by any researcher no matter where he or she is from, can’t it?

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