Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Weak Spot Found

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories uncovered vulnerable spot in open-source software scientists use to uncover genetic alterations, Health IT Security reports. This, Sandia notes in a press release, left some analyses open to cyber attacks, though it adds that a patch has been issued.

The weak point arose, according to Computerworld Australia, when the Burrows-Wheeler Aligner imported the standard reference genome from government servers, as it traveled over insecure channels. That left the process open to a "man in the middle" attack in which a hacker could intercept the standardized genome sequence and attach malware to it before sending it on its way to the BWA user, according to Sandia. That malware could then change a patient's genetic information file as it is mapped to the reference, altering the analysis and, potentially, the patient's treatment, it adds.

"Once we discovered that this attack could change a patient's genetic information, we followed responsible disclosure," Corey Hudson, a bioinformatics researcher at Sandia, says in a statement. Sandia adds that the software developers then issued a patch.

There has been no known attack based on this vulnerability, Computerworld Australia adds.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.