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Black Box: A Chip That Makes Hacking Impossible

In an era of Machine Learning (ML)-enabled hacking, in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is trained to "learn" and model inputs and outputs, a new chip-based technology termed as a "black box" can thwart hackers' plans, say researchers.

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Due to its nature, the chip is physically unclonable and can, thus, render the device invulnerable to hijacking, counterfeiting or replication by cyber-criminals
Representational image. Pixabay
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In an era of Machine Learning (ML)-enabled hacking, in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is trained to “learn” and model inputs and outputs, a new chip-based technology termed as a “black box” can thwart hackers’ plans, say researchers.

According to Computer Science Professor Dmitri Strukov from the University of California-Santa Barbara, he and his team were looking to put an extra layer of security on devices.

The result is a chip that deploys “ionic memristor” technology.

Key to this technology is the memristor, or memory resistor — an electrical resistance switch that can “remember” its state of resistance based on its history of applied voltage and current.

With ML, an attacker doesn't even need to know what exactly is occurring as the computer is trained on a series of inputs and outputs of a system
Due to its nature, the chip is physically unclonable and can, thus, render the device invulnerable to hijacking, counterfeiting or replication by cyber-criminals. pixabay

A circuit made of memristors results in a “black box” of sorts, as Strukov called it, with outputs extremely difficult to predict based on the inputs.

“You can think of it as a black box. Due to its nature, the chip is physically unclonable and can, thus, render the device invulnerable to hijacking, counterfeiting or replication by cyber-criminals,” said Strukov in a paper which appeared in the journal Nature Electronics.

With ML, an attacker doesn’t even need to know what exactly is occurring as the computer is trained on a series of inputs and outputs of a system.

Due to its nature, the chip is physically unclonable and can, thus, render the device invulnerable to hijacking, counterfeiting or replication by cyber-criminals
Representational image. Pixabay

“For instance, if you have 2 million outputs and the attacker sees 10,000 or 20,000 of these outputs, he can, based on that, train a model that can copy the system afterwards,” said Hussein Nili, the paper’s lead author.

The “memristive black box” can circumvent this method of attack because it makes the relationship between inputs and outputs look random enough to the outside world even as the circuits’ internal mechanisms are repeatable enough to be reliable.

Also Read: Motorola Foldable Phone Concept Opens up Into a Tablet

“If we scale it a little bit further, it’s going to be hardware which could be, in many metrics, the state-of-the-art,” Strukov noted. (IANS)

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Cybercrimes cost businesses $600 billion globally: McAfee report

Cybercrime losses are greater in richer countries; however, the countries with the greatest losses are mid-tier nations that are digitised but not yet fully capable of cybersecurity, the report noted.

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Russia, North Korea and Iran are the most active in hacking financial institutions, while China is the most active in cyber espionage.
Hackers are usig new techniques to rob users' data and money. Wikimedia Commons

Cybercrimes have cost businesses close to $600 billion globally — or 0.8% the global GDP — which is up from $445 billion reported three years back, a report said on Thursday.

The report by the global cybersecurity firm McAfee, prepared along with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said that over the last three years, cybercriminals have quickly adopted new technologies to ease the process of engaging in cybercrimes.

“Ransomware-as-a-Service Cloud providers efficiently scale attacks to target millions of systems, and attacks are automated to require minimal human involvement,” Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee, said in a statement.

Also Read: Indian companies more prone to cyber attacks

“Add to these factors cryptocurrencies that ease rapid monetisation, while minimising the risk of arrest, and you must conclude that the $600 billion cybercrime figure reflects the extent to which our technological accomplishments have transformed the criminal economy as dramatically as they have every other portion of our economy,” he added.
The report, titled “Economic Impact of Cybercrime — No Slowing Down”, said that banks remain the favourite target for cybercriminals.

McAfee, Inc. is an American global computer security software company.
McAfee, Inc. is an American global computer security software company. Wikimedia Commons

Russia, North Korea and Iran are the most active in hacking financial institutions, while China is the most active in cyber espionage.

“Our research bore out the fact that Russia is the leader in cybercrime, reflecting the skill of its hacker community and its disdain for Western law enforcement,” said James Lewis, Senior Vice President at CSIS.

“North Korea is second in line, as the nation uses cryptocurrency theft to help fund its regime, and we’re now seeing an expanding number of cybercrime centres, including not only North Korea but also Brazil, India and Vietnam,” Lewis added.

Cybercrime losses are greater in richer countries; however, the countries with the greatest losses are mid-tier nations that are digitised but not yet fully capable of cybersecurity, the report noted. (IANS)