Vulnerabilities in High-performance Computer chips

Vulnerabilities in High-performance Computer chips

A Washington State University research team found that by adding malicious workload intentionally, they could damage the on-chip communications system and shorten its lifetime significantly. Since then, researchers have been working to understand the vulnerabilities of computer chips as a way to stop malicious attacks on the electronics that make up everyday life. Electronics vendors, such as Apple and Samsung, have been accused of manipulating weaknesses in their own electronics to encourage consumers to purchase new products.

Partha Pande, assistant professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of Washington State University said that the communications system is the glue that keeps everything together that when it starts to malfunction, the whole system is going down. High-performance computer uses large amount of processors and do parallel processing for big data applications and cloud computing. Researchers are working to increase the number of processors and incorporate high-performance capabilities into hand-held devices.

Three "craftily constructed deleterious" attacks were devised by the researchers to investigate the communications system. In this trial, researchers found out that a limited number of important vertical links of the communication system were mainly vulnerable to fail. Those links connect the processors in a stack and allows them to talk with each other. Researchers will now work to develop different ways to lessen the problem, by using automated techniques and algorithms to detect and prevent attacks.

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