Go to listing page

Life-Threatening Consequences of Digital Assaults Against Healthcare and Research Institutions

Life-Threatening Consequences of Digital Assaults Against Healthcare and Research Institutions
Cyberattacks on the healthcare sector are not just causing damage to digital assets, they are making life-threatening impacts as well. According to a recent report from Nature Biotechnology, cybercriminals could target DNA researchers with malware into producing toxins or synthetic viruses on their behalf through targeted cyberattacks.

Dangers of biohacking techniques

In a recent report, a group of academic researchers from Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has underlined the need for convergence between cybersecurity and biosecurity in a report.
  • Researchers have demonstrated how a cybercriminal can circumvent the DNA screening protocols of synthetic gene providers through a generic obfuscation procedure.
  • Insertion of an obfuscated DNA could create dangerous substances, including synthetic viruses or toxic material, that the software designed to implement the screening guidelines would not be able to detect.
  • In addition, software used to design and manage synthetic DNA projects may be vulnerable to man-in-the-browser attacks that can be used to tamper with these synthetic gene engineering pipelines, facilitating an end-to-end cyber-biological attack.

Cyberattack causing a death

In recent times, there has been a threatening incident, when a cyber-attack actually caused a loss of life.
  • In September, cybercriminals had hit a hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany, and invaded  30 servers at University Hospital Düsseldorf, crashing systems and forcing the hospital to turn away emergency patients.
  • As a result, a woman in a life-threatening condition could not receive the required treatment, and she lost her life while she was being sent to a hospital 20 miles away in Wuppertal.

The bottom line

Threats to sophisticated healthcare systems can cause severe havoc. Therefore, associated organizations need to take precautions against cyber-biological threats. Experts recommend improving cybersecurity protocols, including electronic signatures, behavioral analysis fueled by AI, implementing intrusion detection, and screening algorithm that takes into account in vivo gene editing.

Cyware Publisher