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'Tamper Evident' CPU Warns of Malicious Backdoors

Columbia University scientists have developed a chip design that prevents microprocessors from being equipped with malicious backdoors that could be used to steal sensitive information or receive instructions from adversaries. The researchers' "tamper evident" microprocessor is designed to monitor operations flowing through a CPU for signs that its microcode has been altered during the design cycle.

"The root of trust in all software systems rests on microprocessors because all software is executed by a microprocessor," the researchers say.

The tamper-evident chip features two engines hardwired into a processor that continuously monitors chip communications for anomalies. One of the engines, called TrustNet, sends an alert whenever a unit executes more or fewer instructions than is expected. The second engine, called DataWatch, watches chip data for signs the CPU has been maliciously modified.

From The Register (UK)
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