Algorithm That Protects Hardware From Cyber Attack


Novel development prevents hackers from detecting variations of power, stealing data and encrypted information.

A team of researchers at University of Wyoming collaborated with the researchers at the University of Cincinnati to develop an algorithm to safeguard electronic devices. Today, with the world progressing towards technology, electronic devices such as mobile phones are secured by fingerprints and face-lock. However, protecting the software is just one part of security, the hardware also demands high-tech protection measures.

 Mike Borowczak, Assistant professor at the University of Wyoming said, “Regardless of how secure you can make your software, if your hardware leaks information, you can basically bypass all those security mechanisms.” Presently, engineers have optimized devices in such a manner that they can operate on minimal power. Devices such as car keys and credit cards are small and lightweight, which work within less-power constraints. Such devices are optimized on factors such as cost, speed, weight, functioning and power, but are compromised on security basis. When a cable box operates it continuously goes through decoding and encoding process which emits strong electromagnetic radiation further creating variations in power. The functioning of the device and radiation emitted creates a pattern, is which unique to the cable box and thereby allows the hackers to track the device. If information is to be stolen via DVR, reverse engineering can help hackers get a hold of the decryption. Hackers need not require physical access to leak information through a device.

Thus, considering these risks the researchers have developed novel mechanism that focuses on studying design specification and restructuring the algorithm. This equalizes the amount of power avoiding variations, furthermore disallowing the hackers, who have power measurement details to hamper the information. Rather than securing every hardware device manually, the algorithm secures the device thereby making it more viable. The study was published in the Institute of Engineering and Technology Journal on February 27, 2019.


About Author

Aira Goldsmith is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. She’s based in NYC but travels much of the year. Aira has written for Buzz Feed, Motherboard, The Financial Post, and the Huffington Post. Aira is a business reporter, focusing on technology and markets.