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Computer Chip Vulnerabilities Discovered by WS­ Researchers

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Computer chip on a circuit board.

A Washington State University research team has uncovered significant, previously unknown vulnerabilities in high-performance computer chips.

Credit: Washington State University

Washington State University (WSU) researchers found significant vulnerabilities in high-performance computer chips that could lead to failures in modern electronics.

The researchers discovered they could damage the on-chip communications system and reduce the chip's lifetime by deliberately adding malicious workloads.

The team developed three "craftily constructed deleterious" hacks to test the communications system; the extra workload augmented electromigration-induced stress and crosstalk noise.

The team found a limited number of crucial vertical links, which connect the processors in a stack and let them to communicate with each other, were prone to failure.

WSU's Partha Pande said, "The role of the communications and the threat had not been clear to the research community before."

The researchers aim to ameliorate the vulnerabilities, with possibilities including automated techniques and algorithms to detect and foil attacks.

From Washington State University
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