Researchers at Hong Kong Chinese University Store datasets in Bacteria

Technological advancements have facilitated governments across the world to archive data and records on online systems and devices. Massive computerization and perpetuation of Internet has helped many countries to move towards paperless economy. However, raising cybercrime and information warfare are threatening the basic utility of computers to store information. Countries such as United States, France and United Kingdom have large archives, which run into hundreds of miles. As such, Information security has become a major challenge for all countries.

Researchers at Hong Kong Chinese University are exploring ways to store and encrypt information in bacteria. The research highlights the benefits of the emerging domain of bio storage, which deals with storage and encryption of information in living organisms. Usually, organizations use ethical hacking to find vulnerabilities and strengthen security infrastructure from data breaches. In this case, the researchers are endeavoring to store large datasets on E.coli bacterium, the familiar source of food poisoning. Earlier research primarily aimed to leverage the reproductive ability of bacteria, which may help in storing information in a group of single-celled organisms for hundreds and thousands of years. The young researchers at Hong Kong Chinese University are striving to devise mechanisms to store more complex information and overcome the limitations of storage capacity. The team of researchers has evolved a technique to compress and split data into small chunks. The mechanism allows distribution of data on various bacterial cells and also maps the DNA to easily locate specific information.

The research reveals that one gram of bacteria may store information equal to that stored by 450 hard disks of 2,000 Gigabytes. The research comes at a time when Information security professionals in US are finding ways to stop further WikiLeaks type revelations. The team has also devised an encoding mechanism with built-in feature, which offers protection against possible data corruption by mutations in few bacterial cells. As bacteria are resistant to cyber-attacks, the path breaking research has showed a new way to secure information.

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