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­nhackable Computer ­nder Development With $3.6m DARPA Grant

unhackable computer, illustration

Credit: Michigan Engineering

Engineers at the University of Michigan (U-M) are using a $3.6-million U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant to create an impenetrable computer by turning computer circuits into unsolvable puzzles via the MORPHEUS project. "It's like if you're solving a Rubik's Cube and every time you blink, I rearrange it," says U-M professor Todd Austin.

MORPHEUS provides a new way of designing hardware so data is rapidly and randomly moved and deleted, keeping hackers from the information they need to organize a successful attack. Austin notes the locations of a software bug as well as passwords would constantly shift, and even if an attacker pinpoints the data, secondary encryption and domain enforcement would pose additional obstacles, leaving the hacker without the time or the resources to exploit the bug.

"We can take the offensive against attackers with new defenses in hardware and implement them with virtually no impact to software," Austin says.

From Michigan Engineering
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