Correspondents in Paris
NOVEMBER 20, 2006
RESEARCHERS have discovered a fundamental flaw in microprocessor
technology that could allow hackers to obtain computer users'
information, a French newspaper has reported.
A team led by German cryptology expert Jean-Pierre Seifert has
discovered that chips are now more vulnerable because of the way they
are manufactured to process data more quickly.
"Security has been sacrificed for the benefit of performance," French
daily Le Monde quoted Mr Seifert as saying Saturday.
The danger of hackers breaking into computer chips, using a technique
known as Branch Prediction Analysis (PBA), previously necessitated a
very large number of attempts to decipher a cryptology key.
But Mr Seifert's research envisages that hackers will find it far easier
and quicker in the future using a small piece of spy software that
In a still-confidential study, Mr Seifert and his colleagues explain how
they managed "in only one attempt" to obtain a 512-bit encryption key in
just a few thousandths of a second.
Mr Seifert plans to demonstrate his method at the beginning of 2007 at
an conference on encryption.
Subscribe to InfoSec News