DNA Sequencing Security and Privacy

My Role

I provide the wet lab and biological expertise needed to explore the practical aspect of DNA sequencing security.


Left to right: Lee Organick, Karl Koscher, and Peter Ney prepare the DNA exploit.

Currently, I work closely with members of the Security and Privacy Research Lab to investigate the security of technology surrounding biology. Specifically, we examine
next generation sequencing.

In a recent USENIX paper, we showed that there are potential software vulnerabilities in much of the current software available to analyze next generation sequencing data. We also showed that if a software program was exceedingly vulnerable (we inserted a known vulnerability into analysis software) we could exploit the vulnerability and take over the computer just by sequencing carefully crafted synthetic DNA.

You can find more easily digestible details about this sequencing security study on the project website.

For more information, please watch first author Peter Ney’s USENIX conference talk explaining this work.


Selected Press