Are Self-Destructing Chips The Future Of Security?

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How do you store data that is necessary, but also potentially damaging in a hack?

Engineers at Xerox PARC have come up with a rather interesting solution: make the chip that holds the data self-destruct.

The chip, which the engineers made from Corning’s Gorilla Glass, is designed to self-destruct upon command making it a valuable storage option for high security data or encryption codes.

The project was developed as a part of DARPA’s vanishing programmable resources project was demonstrated at the agency’s Wait, What event last week.

For the demonstration, the chip was heated via a small resistor controlled by a circuit. The circuit was triggered by a photo-diode, which was triggered in this example by a laser. When heated the chip broke into thousands of pieces and those pieces kept shattering for up to 10s of seconds after the initial breakup.

The glass is ion-exchange tempered, which causes heavy stress and results in the epic shatter. The trigger for the circuit could be anything from a radio signal to a mechanical switch.


Henry Sapiecha


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