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article imageMaking cybersecurity stronger in harsh environments

By Tim Sandle     Dec 16, 2017 in Technology
Remaining protected from cyber attacks is diffiucult at the best of times. It is more challenging in extreme environments, such as a war zone. New research offers some solutions.
For the military, protecting data is paramount, especially as even weapons become 'connected devices' and part of an "Internet of Battlefield Things" (as discussed by Digital Journal previously). Cyberattacks on the battle field will disrupt operations and put military personnel at risk.
To address these concerns, a research group, reported by the American Chemical Society, have outlined a new way to protect data under extreme environmental conditions.
A different approach is required because legacy methods involve installing software. The downside here is the need for frequent updates and the requirement for relatively large amounts of power. These limitations have led to researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology proposing cybersecurity methods based on hardware.
Here physical unclonable function devices hold the most promise. This is because random physical variations can be created for these types of hardware. This leads to unique structures that cannot be copied or cloned. Current physical unclonable function devices are sometimes unreliable in extreme environments, so the researchers have been making modifications.
Lead researcher Professor Yang-Kyu Choi has designed physical unclonable function devices that are based on nano-electro mechanical switches (used in circuits requiring low power consumption). With this development an array of several nanowire gates creates an unpredictable, unique code. The device has been tested out against high temperatures, microwaves and high-dose radiation. The tests were successful, leading to further developments being scoped out.
The research outcomes are published in the journal ACS Nano, with the study called "Nano-electromechanical Switch Based on a Physical Unclonable Function for Highly Robust and Stable Performance in Harsh Environments."
More about Cybersecurity, Cyberattack, Security, harsh environment
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