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Researchers encode malware in DNA, compromise DNA sequencing software

posted onAugust 14, 2017
by l33tdawg

With everyone from academics to Microsoft looking at the prospect of storing data using DNA, it was probably inevitable that someone would start looking at the security implications. Apparently, they're worse than most people might have expected. It turns out it's possible to encode computer malware in DNA and use it to attack vulnerabilities on the computer that analyzes the sequence of that DNA.

The researchers didn't find an actual vulnerability in DNA analysis software—instead, they specifically made a version of some software with an exploitable vulnerability to show that the risk is more than hypothetical. Still, an audit of some open source DNA analysis software shows that the academics who have been writing it haven't been paying much attention to security best practices.

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