Malware Stored in Synthetic DNA Can Take Over a PC, Researchers Find

From an article in the Wall Street Journal:

University of Washington researchers figured out a way to use biology to infect computers with malicious code.

In their experiments, the researchers stored malware in synthetic DNA and demonstrated how that code can compromise a computer analyzing the DNA after it has been run through a gene-sequencing machine.

The danger of such an attack is still years away, the researchers said, adding they haven’t seen evidence of hackers attempting this sort of breach. The experiments highlight a new type of threat that could allow sophisticated coders to gain control of computer systems if precautions aren’t taken.

“This is something

[the genomics industry] and the U.S. government should be concerned about,” said Tadayoshi Kohno, a computer-science professor at the university and a member of the research team.

The team will present the results of its experiments, conducted in late 2016 and 2017, at a security symposium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on Aug. 17.

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Image Credit:   Dennis Wise

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