Cyberbiosecurity is an emerging discipline. We are at the entry point of this discipline and striving to lead its emergence, especially related to the agricultural and food system. This is the first known effort to characterize the dynamic exchange of data across the agricultural and food system with relevance to both academic research and outreach and for training and education. Through this effort, we will be establishing Virginia Tech as pioneers in and an expert resource for cyberbiosecurity in agriculture and food education, research, and outreach programs. The long-term outcome of this effort will be the development of a more highly trained agriculture, food, and cybersecurity workforce, new career opportunities, and policies and programs to protect the bioeconomy of Virginia and the U.S. 

October 2019 update

Defining cyberbiosecurity for protecting life sciences data is challenging. Drs. Susan Duncan (PI), Margaret Ellis (co-PI) and Tiffany Drape (co-PI) spoke with 3 undergraduate students assisting with the project. Students were seeking an understanding so they could scout literature for examples of threats, risks, and benefits of cyberbiosecurity in mitigating these challenges. 

Cyberbiosecurity focuses on the intersection of cybersecurity, biosecurity, and physical security and the understanding of security for life science data. In this project, we are focusing on developing examples of life science data that is shared and on which different sectors across a system rely on data sharing and integrity for their agronomic and economic decisions. Our team is working with an agricultural research team who are developing vegetable soybeans, from the original genetics and breeding, through agricultural production, insect and weed management, innovations in mechanical harvesting, processing, consumer acceptance and economic value. Dr. Susan Duncan (PI), Dr. Bo Zhang (Co-PI), and Ms. Renata Carneiro (PhD student) are members of both the ICAT team project and the edamame project. 

The ICAT team will be interviewing the edamame team about data collection, sharing, cyberbiosecurity, and risks, threats, and challenges that may illustrate industry practices and life science data that would affect success in the development of a domestic edamame industry.