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Scientists Harness Chaos to Protect Devices From Hackers


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A 'digital fingerprint'.

Researchers have found a way to use chaos to help develop digital fingerprints for electronic devices that may be unique enough to foil even the most sophisticated hackers.

Credit: Ohio State News

A new version of physically unclonable functions (PUFs) developed by a research team led by The Ohio State University (OSU) could prevent even the most sophisticated hackers from accessing electronic devices.

The team's method leverages small manufacturing variations in computer chips—sometimes visible only at the atomic level—to create PUFs that could be used in secure ID cards, supply chain tracking, and authentication applications.

Using these tiny variations, researchers can create unique sequences of 0s and 1s, dubbed "secrets."

The researchers calculated one of their PUFs could create 1,077 secrets.

OSU's Daniel Gauthier said that if a hacker could guess one secret every microsecond, or 1 million secrets per second, it would take about 20 billion years to guess all the secrets in one microchip.

Verilock's Jim Northup said, "This novel approach to a strong PUF could prove to be virtually un-hackable."

From Ohio State News
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