Xerox PARC Preps Self-Destructing Chip

Xerox-owned PARC has developed a self-destructing chip that could be used to safeguard sensitive data.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.pcmag.com

Xerox getting back into the microprocessor business?  The technology is essentially a chip built entirely on Corning’s Gorilla Glass, the same material that protects smartphone and tablet screens. According to IDG, which got a look at the chip last week, it was developed in tandem with DARPA and its vanishing programmable resources (VAPR) project, which aims at improving data security.   The technology would work much like any other computer chip, holding important data, an encryption key, or something else of high value. The key feature, however, is that it can self-destruct in 10 seconds, thanks to a function that causes a small resistor built into the chip to heat up. The glass shatters into thousands of pieces after reaching critical temperature, and the data is lost forever. That resistor can be activated by a simple laser or even a radio signal, ostensibly allowing for remote detonation.  For now, the PARC chip is a proof-of-concept and it’s unclear how it may ultimately be used in the real world. Still, it provides an important new tool for top-secret agencies and perhaps even major companies worried about protecting information. Security, after all, is hard to come by in a world where government agencies and hacker groups are actively targeting data. Having a chip that can quickly self-destruct in a pinch could go a long way in securing information.   Last year, DARPA awarded IBM a $3.45 million contract as part of the VAPR project to develop a “new class of electronics.” Specifically, IBM is experimenting with glass-shattering techniques that can turn the silicon chips that power today’s gadgets into an unusable powder.

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