Will Hackers Find Bioweapon Secrets In The Cloud?

Adam Mazmanian | FCW | April 1, 2014

The collision of big data and decoded genetic information is creating a wealth of opportunities for biologists, engineers and public health researchers. However, there is also the potential that advances in computing and genetics are providing potentially catastrophic opportunities for malefactors to hack into research computers to find information that could be adapted to create biological weapons.

This nightmare scenario would have sounded far-fetched a few years ago. But according to panelists at an event sponsored by the Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, advanced research in virology, genetics, and other areas could result in unintended discoveries with the potential for weaponization. The relatively open culture of academia and the lax cybersecurity posture of many academic and research institution creates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed in the near term, experts said.