A piece by Jean Peccoud, Jenna E. Gallegos,Randall, Wallace G. Buchholz,and Sanjay Raman sounds an alarm for the biotechnology industry and researchers. The development of technology has blurred the gap between the digital and biological. Recent research has shown the potential for threats to cross over between these realms by coding malware into a DNA sequence and compromising the sequencing computer. The possibility of cyberthreats being converted into biological threats also looms large. Current biosaftey and biosecurity policies are concerned with physical threats and the containment of known physical agents. Gene-synthesis challenges this paradigm as biological weapons could be transported digitally or even introduced into an environment where they are not anticipated through the malicious manipulation of data. Further threats such as the manipulation of sample data to sabotage research efforts, limiting the progress or economic potential of development projects. This is a concerning area and training, threat analysis for the development of cyberbiosecurity measures should be considered to mitigate the potential harm.
Peccoud, J., Gallegos, J. E., Murch, R., Buchholz, W. G., & Raman, S. (2017). Cyberbiosecurity: From Naive Trust to Risk Awareness. Trends in Biotechnology.