Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA

Adroit hackers have figured out how to insert malware into DNA; surely this is just what we need.

New research that came out Thursday from the University of Washington demonstrates how hackers were able to encode malware into a short strand of DNA. It was then used to infect and take control of a computer connected to a DNA sequencing machine. And as if that alone isn’t alarming enough, the malware-infused DNA was programmed to launch the virus on its own when the DNA is analyzed. So instead of malware being spread through an email attachment, their research showed that “DNA can be a method of compromising the computer,” said Peter Ney, one of the Ph.D. students who worked on the research team at UW.

This hack extends the idea of putting information into DNA, using it as a storage medium. As far as I know, the Heritable Memories Bloodline from The Time of the Dark (1982) by Barbara Hambly, is the first mention of this idea.

Interested in storing information (and now code) in DNA?

  - Bacteria Save Your Data, Make Multiple Backups
  - DNA As An Archival Storage System
  - DNA Data Storage Is Robust, Scalable
  - SCRIBE Enables Distributed Genomically Encoded Memory
  - Epigenetic Memory's On/Off Switch Found
  - Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA

Via Slate.

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