Towards the mitigation of distributed denial-of-service cyberbioattacks in bacteria-based biosensing systems

Sergio López Bernal, Daniel Perez Martins, Alberto Huertas Celdrán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In recent years, bacterial populations have been engineered to act as biological sensors able to improve human health by developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics. Nowadays, populations of engineered bacteria can be remotely controlled to perform some medical actions on-demand; however, it brings crucial concerns from the cybersecurity perspective. As an example, one of the first cyberbioattacks has been recently proposed to explore the feasibility of using engineered bacteria to produce a Distributed Denial-of-Service and disrupt the creation of biofilm, a natural protection of bacteria against external agents. With the goal of mitigating the impact of this cyberbioattack, this paper proposes two novel mitigation mechanisms: quorum quenching and amplification. On the one hand, quorum quenching focuses on emitting molecules to block those sent by the cyberbioattack. On the other hand, the amplification approach emits molecules to increase the percentage of those needed to create the biofilm structure. To measure the performance of both mitigation techniques in dynamic scenarios, we have implemented different configurations of the Distributed Denial-of-Service attack and evaluated the channel attenuation and the signal-to-interference-plus-noise (SINR). As a result, we have observed that both approaches reduce the impact caused by the cyberbioattack, detecting differences between them. The quorum quenching mechanism presented better results, although it did not adapt its behavior to different attack configurations, responding statically. In contrast, the amplitude mitigation technique is perfectly adapted to attack configurations with different impacts on biofilm creation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103241
JournalDigital Signal Processing: A Review Journal
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Bacteria
  • Biofilm
  • Cyberbiosecurity
  • DDoS
  • Engineered cells
  • Mitigation


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