They have similar dangers—and similar potential benefits.
By Kendall Hoyt
Biosecurity and cybersecurity research share an unusual predicament: Efforts to predict and defend against emerging threats often expose and create vulnerabilities. For example, scientists must first learn how to isolate and grow a pathogen before they can develop a new vaccine. Similarly, researchers must first learn how to break into a computer system in order to defend it.
In the wrong hands, both types of knowledge can be used to develop a weapon instead of a vaccine or a patch. The genetic tools and exploit software that enable these activities are becoming easier to use and to acquire, prompting security experts to ask one question with growing urgency: How can we protect against misuse without limiting discovery and innovation?