Princeton Deep-Freezes RAM To Sidestep Encryption

My favorite aspect of writing about security is that software designers work so hard to craft sophisticated, multi-level strategies to protect data, which is then periodically sidestepped by some kid with $18 worth of equipment, engaging in an easy blunt force attack that no one anticipated.

Case in point: Some clever folk at Princeton came up with this delicious and low-cost way around typical encryption methods. It's based on RAM chip's tendency to keep all data--including encryption keys--for seconds or even minutes after power is cut off. The Princeton approach then used a common dust removal aerosol can to deep-freeze the chip before killing power, a cooling tactic that sharply lengthy how long the RAM remembered the desired key data. From there, simple pattern recognition software quickly found the keys. This Princeton video demo is worth watching.

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