Event Recaps

Cyberbiosecurity: The New Frontier of Counterproliferation

On December 6, 2022, CRDF Global hosted a webinar titled “Cyberbiosecurity: The New Frontier of Counterproliferation.” The two-hour panel session featured cyberbiosecurity experts Randall Murch and Dr. Gemma Bowsher. Murch is a research lead for cyberbiosecurity at the Virginia Technical Institute and has been credited for the creation of the term “cyberbiosecurity.” Dr. Bowsher is a research associate and co-lead for Health Intelligence and Biosecurity at the Conflict and Health Research Group at King’s College London. Biorisk management expert Dr. Lora Grainger and Nathan Gwira, CRDF Global’s cybersecurity technical specialist, acted as moderators. Biosecurity Deputy Program Manager Urszula Velez was the logistics support leader for the event.

The panel provided an overview on cyberbiosecurity, its importance in the health sector, and the challenges we face in overcoming cyberbiosecurity threats. Cyberbiosecurity is an emerging field that focuses on the cybersecurity risks to biological facilities. “Cyberbiosecurity actually was a concept that started at Virginia Tech,” Murch explained. “Two other colleagues and I sat down and started thinking about something at the intersection of cyber and bio that would help solve the problem of security of laboratories – particularly laboratories today.” Since then, Murch and his team have published research examining trends in biotechnology and strategic analyses of cyberbiosecurity. He also discussed recent developments in cyberbiosecurity, such as CRDF Global’s work in advancing an international cyberbiosecurity certification program.

Providing the health perspective, Dr. Bowsher explained, “there’s been this huge explosion of attacks on cyber networks within healthcare as a way of exploiting the vulnerabilities of the health sector.” The drive to digitalize healthcare can lead to a lack of preparedness in cybersecurity, which has made cyberbiosecurity more relevant than ever. Dr. Bowsher emphasized the importance of standard operation procedures (SOPs) and cyber awareness across the health sector. The panel also discussed cyber vulnerabilities in biological intellectual property, genomic data security, and agriculture.

The two-hour session included a Question-and-Answer session for all participants. To learn more about the panel, please view the recording embedded below.