Feeds

Human genome data in hacker peril shocker

Risks overplayed by emarketplace integrator

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

As if the attacks by crackers on credit card databases and even Microsoft's internal network wasn't bad enough, a firm of ebusiness integrators has outlined security holes on sites containing genetic research.

A report issued by BioExchange.com suggests there is lax security at the half-dozen online genomics companies who provide commercial-grade research tools and proprietary data sources for the biotechnology industry.

This might seem like pretty esoteric stuff but BioExchange.com believes the issue is important because other companies want to analyze and store personal genomic information for research and health.

This means data that would point to disease or inherited disorder of patients and participants in drug trials would be held online - raising obvious security and privacy issues

BioExchange.com analysed the current online genomics services and judged the state of their security based upon use of (Secure Socket Layer) SSL encryption, password protection, and the sensitivity of information that is transferred via direct e-mail mechanisms.

According to the study, none of the sites reviewed, including those of Caldera Genomics which is a prime mover behind the Human Genome project, support encrypted email and easily guessed passwords could be used. That's it really - no firewall misconfigurations, unpatched operating system problems or even a Microsoft Internet Information Server problem in sight.

So why the fuss? Well BioExchange.com is in the electronic marketplace business so it has a pretty obvious interest in talking up its ability to provide a secure environment for the exchange of this kind of data. Leaving aside the hype surrounding electronic marketplaces, we can't help but wonder if BioExchange.com has scored an own goal by antagonising the very companies it wants to supply services to, in particular it might have a hard job selling to Celera, which it singles out for particular criticism.

BioExchange.com said: "There is no working encryption on the entirety of the Celera web site, where genomic information is proxied to their terraflop supercomputers containing their proprietary databases of the Human Genome."

However when we tried this we found that we had to make a connection to celera.com through a secure SSL connection, so either the site has been updated or BioExchange got it wrong. ®

External links:
Bioexchange.com

Related stories:
Human Genome out on CD
Alpha chip powers Celera genome burst
Hackers, Windows NT and the FBI
How you hack into Microsoft: a step by step guide
$10m super'puter to crunch genetic code

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.