Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Security chip that does encryption in PCs hacked
The attack can force heavily secured computers to spill documents that likely were presumed to be safe. This discovery shows one way that spies and other richly financed attackers can acquire military and trade secrets, and comes as worries about state-sponsored computer espionage intensify, underscored by recent hacking attacks on Google Inc.
The new attack discovered by Christopher Tarnovsky is difficult to pull off, partly because it requires physical access to a computer. But laptops and smart phones get lost and stolen all the time. And the data that the most dangerous computer criminals would seek likely would be worth the expense of an elaborate espionage operation.
Jeff Moss, founder of the Black Hat security conference and a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's advisory council, called Tarnovsky's finding "amazing."
"It's sort of doing the impossible," Moss said. "This is a lock on Pandora's box. And now that he's pried open the lock, it's like, ooh, where does it lead you?" newsmeat