Feeds

DARPA hands IBM £3.4m to develop SELF DESTRUCTING CHIPS

Left an embarrassing USB key behind? No problem - it'll blow itself into dust

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The American miltary's mad boffin department DARPA has commissioned IBM to design microchips that can simply "vanish" after being used.

After the embarrassment of special forces troops leaving behind a “stealth” helicopter during the US operation to kill Osama Bin Laden, America has a strong interest in making sure its tech doesn't fall into enemy hands.

About a year ago, it announced a scheme called Vanishing Programmable Resources, which is dedicated to making expensive stuff disappear.

IBM have now been handed £3.4m to design chips that can be remotely reduced to silicon dust.

This will be achieved by using a fuse to shatter a thin piece of glass substrate which forms the base of the chip. When it goes pop, the glass will hopefully destroy the silicon complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) chip on top of it.

The government tender said: "IBM plans to utilize the property of strained glass substrates to shatter as the driving force to reduce attached CMOS chips into Si and SiO2 powder. A trigger, such as a fuse or a reactive metal layer will be used to initiate shattering, in at least one location, on the glass substrate. An external RF signal will be required for this process to be initiated. IBM will explore various schemes to enhance glass shattering and techniques to transfer this into the attached Si CMOS devices."

Last month, DARPA awarded BAE $4.5m to develop a sensor that will simply dissolve when it is no longer required.

When the highly-modified Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter broke down during the Bin Laden raid, the US Navy SEALs resorted to blowing it up. But enough was left behind for the Chinese to have a quick peek at the downed whirlybird before Pakistan handed it back to America.

To ensure no secrets go AWOL when sensitive gear is abandoned in the future, DARPA's Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program is developing "electronic systems capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, triggerable manner".

“The commercial off-the-shelf electronics made for everyday purchases are durable and last nearly forever,” said Alicia Jackson, DARPA program manager.

“DARPA is looking for a way to make electronics that last precisely as long as they are needed,” she added. “The breakdown of such devices could be triggered by a signal sent from command or any number of possible environmental conditions, such as temperature.” ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
'Urika': Cray unveils new 1,500-core big data crunching monster
6TB of DRAM, 38TB of SSD flash and 120TB of disk storage
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Oracle hires former SAP exec for cloudy push
'We know Larry said cloud was gibberish, and insane, and idiotic, but...'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.