Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, February 22, 2021

I’ve alluded before about the fundamental divide in the tech world between software developers and hardware engineers, i.e. code monkeys and wire-grabbers. I’ve always gotten the sense that they operate in pretty much separate worlds.

That assumption is proved out by the discovery by Princeton researchers of a decidedly low-tech way to crack government-grade encryption: Flash-freezing the memory chips so they retain the in-transit unprotected data, then simply stripping the info off them.

Granted, it’s not the easiest maneuver. Remote hackers can’t try this — someone has to physically steal the computer, and then within minutes spray the innards with liquid nitrogen. This is strictly a professional-level corporate espionage move.

Still, that’s probably the most dangerous target to leave unguarded. And it comes back to a fundamental lapse in how advanced computer functions work:

“The software world tends not to think about these issues,” said Matt Blaze, an associate professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania. “We tend to make assumptions about the hardware. When we find out that those assumptions are wrong, we’re in trouble.”

Expecting 100% bulletproof security is unrealistic, but is it too much to ask for a little bit more in the way of coordination?

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/22/2008 07:28 PM
Category: Tech, True Crime
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