Researchers from the University of Michigan claim to have invented an unhackable processor. The team designed a computer processor called Morpheus, which can change its microarchitecture every few hundred milliseconds, making it almost impossible to hack. How does this new technology work? And should hackers start packing their suitcases and looking for another occupation?
If you take any program, it will almost definitely have smaller or bigger bugs that can be exploited by hackers. Since computer hardware runs software and is responsible for all background processes, Morpheus can protect software running on its hardware.
Morpheus turns the system into a puzzle by encrypting pointers — references to locations in memory. The processor is always changing itself and it’s never the same, so hackers don’t have time to break the encryption. There’s a time limit after which the algorithms change and criminals are left with nothing.
In 2020, almost 600 cybersecurity professionals spent 13,000 hours trying to hack Morpheus, but they all failed.
Morpheus can stop side channel attacks like the infamous Spectre and Meltdown, and can prevent hackers from injecting malicious code into your machine. However, it’s incapable of stopping attacks that target your web server. What kind of attacks is Morpheus unable to stop?
While Morpheus is a powerful technology, users running devices with this new hardware can still get in trouble online. If you download malware on your laptop by accident, connect to a malicious hotspot, and roam the internet without common sense, even the most powerful processor won’t save you.
And don’t forget data breaches. In 2019, 15.1 billion records were exposed worldwide, and many companies failed to protect their users’ data. If you use the same password for all accounts and it's published on a hacking forum, Morpheus won’t offer much protection.
Technologies evolve, but so does cybercrime. Online attacks are getting more sophisticated and you can never be sure when or how you’ll become a victim. However, there are a couple of things you can do to mitigate the risk of getting hacked in the first place.
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