Security Assessment of Cyberphysical Digital Microfluidic Biochips

Sk Subidh Ali, Mohamed Ibrahim, Ozgur Sinanoglu, Krishnendu Chakrabarty, Ramesh Karri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A digital microfluidic biochip (DMFB) is an emerging technology that enables miniaturized analysis systems for point-of-care clinical diagnostics, DNA sequencing, and environmental monitoring. A DMFB reduces the rate of sample and reagent consumption, and automates the analysis of assays. In this paper, we provide the first assessment of the security vulnerabilities of DMFBs. We identify result-manipulation attacks on a DMFB that maliciously alter the assay outcomes. Two practical result-manipulation attacks are shown on a DMFB platform performing enzymatic glucose assay on serum. In the first attack, the attacker adjusts the concentration of the glucose sample and thereby modifies the final result. In the second attack, the attacker tampers with the calibration curve of the assay operation. We then identify denial-of-service attacks, where the attacker can disrupt the assay operation by tampering either with the droplet-routing algorithm or with the actuation sequence. We demonstrate these attacks using a digital microfluidic synthesis simulator. The results show that the attacks are easy to implement and hard to detect. Therefore, this work highlights the need for effective protections against malicious modifications in DMFBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7360149
Pages (from-to)445-458
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Keywords

  • Cyber physical digitalmicrofludic biochip
  • DMFB in-vitro
  • DMFB synthesis
  • Trojan
  • denial of service attack
  • security
  • tampering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Applied Mathematics

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