ITSec

IT-Security

Hacker attacks on a wide variety of computer networks are on the rise. The resulting damage is growing ever greater. Why? And why are Anti-Virus programmes insufficient?
The reason for this problem, although many people do not recognise this, is not caused by software but by the underlying hardware.
The digital, programmable devices we use today are built in accordance with one of two architectures. Both originated in the early twentieth century and have therefore reached retirement age. They are the von-Neumann-Architecture and the Harvard-Architecture. The latter, since it is not consistently used in mass-produced products, is only a little more secure that the von-Neumann-Architecture. The time has come to replace them both.
Both architectures named here suffer for the same reason: programs and data are stored in a common memory space with no physical boundaries between them. This circumstance allows hackers to plant data, which are actually programmes, on a computer in various ways. If the user clicks on such a file, it will not, as expected, be opened and displayed by an application program but be run as a program. The program then does what the hacker intended it to do – and this is usually something the user did not intend.
Anti-Virus programs offer only inadequate protection. They either have to identify the malware by bit-patterns or by its behaviour. In both cases, the hackers are usually way ahead. Identifying the harmful program is not enough. An antidote has to be developed and installed by the user, and by that time, the hackers have probably already got what they wanted.
This process can be interrupted by a new computer architecture, invented in Germany. Although it may still be technically possible to plant malware, the hardware prevents any file that is not explicitly installed as a program by the user, from being executed by the processors. This means that recognising malware is no longer necessary and the computer is secure, even from future malware.
Unfortunately, the utility software used today, starting with BIOS and including the most sophisticated applications, are made in such a way that they exploit the mainstream architectures‘ (von-Neumann and Harvard) weaknesses for their own purposes.
Such programs are therefore technically no different from the malware that hackers plant on other peoples‘ computers. This is the reason that malware is becoming ever more „successful”.
Unfortunately the new hacking-resistant hardware architecture is not compatible with the software products available on the market today. That means conventional software will not run on it. This may also be the reason that this new architecture has not been able to establish itself as yet in the marketplace.
To make things clear from the start: the new architecture does not require fundamentally different software functions in BIOS, OS or applications. Sorting the data structures created by the programmers will be sufficient in the majority of cases, and since this is a matter of sorting, software generated this way will also be backward compatible i.e. capable of running on „old“ computer systems – as long as the program is still compatible with the operating system and processor.
The software adjustments necessary for the new architecture have been specified. The hardware architecture has been patented. IT security „Made in Germany.“
August 2015

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