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Primeur weekly 2019-05-06

Exascale supercomputing

Towards flexible Exascale computing - Installation of the first DEEP-EST module by MEGWARE ...

Quantum computing

HKUST physicist contributes to new record of quantum memory efficiency ...

Researchers discover quantum effect in hard disk drive material ...

Focus on Europe

bluechip partners with E4 Computer Engineering, an HPC specialist ...

Hans Meuer Award finalists selected ...

Middleware

Red Hat drives operational simplicity and modern system support with latest version of Red Hat Virtualization ...

Hardware

Supermicro announces expansion of Silicon Valley Corporate Headquarters and groundbreaking for new 800,000-square foot building in Taiwan ...

New Pittsburgh University computer to launch into Space ...

Parallel Distributed Systems Facility had a storied history in serving high-energy physics and nuclear physics experiments ...

Violin doubles capacity of XVS 8 storage platform with performance-tuned standard NVMe SSDs ...

Arm announces appointment of Inder Singh as Chief Financial Officer ...

Promising material could lead to faster, cheaper computer memory ...

Applications

NCSA contributes to LIGO and Virgo neutron star collision detection ...

Collaborative efforts produce clinical workflows for fast, translational genetic analysis ...

Novel software to balance data processing load in supercomputers to be presented ...

Unhackable: New chip stops attacks before they start ...

Grant to provide computational modeling support for hypersonic vehicles ...

Transforming waste heat into clean energy ...

Liqid enables industry-first unified multi-fabric support for composable infrastructure ...

Simulations identify importance of lattice distortions in ion-conducting fuel cell materials ...

Oak Ridge National Laboratory' Summit to perform cosmological and reactor simulations ...

The Cloud

SDSC's Sherlock Cloud expands hybrid Cloud offerings ...

Cornell investigating multi-cloud cost management with RightScale ...

Red Hat helps Public Health England use open source to pursue hybrid Cloud operations ...

Red Hat Upgrades the business developer's toolbox for a Cloud-native world with latest release of Red Hat Process Automation ...

Unhackable: New chip stops attacks before they start

2 May 2019 Ann Arbor - A new computer processor architecture developed at the University of Michigan could usher in a future where computers proactively defend against threats, rendering the current electronic security model of bugs and patches obsolete.

Called MORPHEUS, the chip blocks potential attacks by encrypting and randomly reshuffling key bits of its own code and data 20 times per second - infinitely faster than a human hacker can work and thousands of times faster than even the fastest electronic hacking techniques.

"Today's approach of eliminating security bugs one by one is a losing game", stated Todd Austin, University of Michigan professor of computer science and engineering and a developer of the system. "People are constantly writing code, and as long as there is new code, there will be new bugs and security vulnerabilities. With MORPHEUS, even if a hacker finds a bug, the information needed to exploit it vanishes 50 milliseconds later. It's perhaps the closest thing to a future-proof secure system."

Todd Austin and his colleagues have demonstrated a DARPA-funded prototype processor that successfully defended against every known variant of control-flow attack, one of hackers' most dangerous and widely used techniques.

The technology could be used in a variety of applications, from laptops and PCs to Internet of Things devices, where simple and reliable security will be increasingly critical.

"We've all seen how damaging an attack can be when it hits a computer that's sitting on your desk", he stated. "But attacks on the computer in your car, in your smart lock or even in your body could place users at even greater risk."

Todd Austin said that instead of using software to patch known code vulnerabilities, MORPHEUS bakes security into its hardware. It makes vulnerabilities virtually impossible to pin down and exploit by constantly randomizing critical program assets in a process called "churn".

"Imagine trying to solve a Rubik's Cube that rearranges itself every time you blink", Todd Austin stated. "That's what hackers are up against with MORPHEUS. It makes the computer an unsolvable puzzle."

Yet MORPHEUS is transparent to software developers and end users. This is because it focuses on randomizing bits of data known as "undefined semantics." Undefined semantics are nooks and crannies of the computing architecture - for example the location, format and content of program code is an undefined semantic.

Undefined semantics are part of a processor's most basic machinery, and legitimate programmers don't generally interact with them. But hackers can reverse-engineer them to uncover vulnerabilities and launch an attack.

The chip's churn rate can be adjusted up or down to strike the right balance between maximizing security and minimizing resource consumption. Todd Austin said a churn rate of once every 50 milliseconds was chosen for the demonstration processor because it's several thousand times faster than even the fastest electronic hacking techniques, but only slows performance by about 1%. The architecture also includes an attack detector that looks for pending threats and increases the churn rate if it senses that an attack is imminent.

Todd Austin and colleagues presented the chip and research paper last month at the ACM International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems.

The demonstration chip is a RISC-V processor - a common, open-source chip design often used for research. Todd Austin is working to commercialize the technology through Agita Labs, a start-up company founded by Todd Austin and University of Michigan computer science and engineering professor Valeria Bertacco, also an author on the paper.

Other researchers on the paper include University of Michigan computer science and engineering assistant professor Baris Kasikci; computer science and engineering graduate research assistants Mark Gallagher, Lauren Biernacki, Zelalem Birhanu Aweke, Salessawi Ferede Yitbarek and Misiker Tadesse Aga; Shibo Chen, recent undergraduate in computer science at the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and doctoral pre-candidate in computer science and engineering; Mohit Tiwari and Austin Harris at the University of Texas; and Sharad Malik and Zhixing Xu at Princeton University.

The research was supported by DARPA under contract HR0011-18-C-0019.

The paper is titled " MORPHEUS: A Vulnerability-Tolerant Secure Architecture Based on Ensembles of Moving Target Defenses with Churn ".

Source: University of Michigan

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2019-05-06

Exascale supercomputing

Towards flexible Exascale computing - Installation of the first DEEP-EST module by MEGWARE ...

Quantum computing

HKUST physicist contributes to new record of quantum memory efficiency ...

Researchers discover quantum effect in hard disk drive material ...

Focus on Europe

bluechip partners with E4 Computer Engineering, an HPC specialist ...

Hans Meuer Award finalists selected ...

Middleware

Red Hat drives operational simplicity and modern system support with latest version of Red Hat Virtualization ...

Hardware

Supermicro announces expansion of Silicon Valley Corporate Headquarters and groundbreaking for new 800,000-square foot building in Taiwan ...

New Pittsburgh University computer to launch into Space ...

Parallel Distributed Systems Facility had a storied history in serving high-energy physics and nuclear physics experiments ...

Violin doubles capacity of XVS 8 storage platform with performance-tuned standard NVMe SSDs ...

Arm announces appointment of Inder Singh as Chief Financial Officer ...

Promising material could lead to faster, cheaper computer memory ...

Applications

NCSA contributes to LIGO and Virgo neutron star collision detection ...

Collaborative efforts produce clinical workflows for fast, translational genetic analysis ...

Novel software to balance data processing load in supercomputers to be presented ...

Unhackable: New chip stops attacks before they start ...

Grant to provide computational modeling support for hypersonic vehicles ...

Transforming waste heat into clean energy ...

Liqid enables industry-first unified multi-fabric support for composable infrastructure ...

Simulations identify importance of lattice distortions in ion-conducting fuel cell materials ...

Oak Ridge National Laboratory' Summit to perform cosmological and reactor simulations ...

The Cloud

SDSC's Sherlock Cloud expands hybrid Cloud offerings ...

Cornell investigating multi-cloud cost management with RightScale ...

Red Hat helps Public Health England use open source to pursue hybrid Cloud operations ...

Red Hat Upgrades the business developer's toolbox for a Cloud-native world with latest release of Red Hat Process Automation ...