Morpheus, unhackable chip from the University of Michigan

Hackers have been exploiting online security breaches for decades, and largely, these malicious attacks have been considered unfortunate, but inevitable.

While everyone always urges each other to maintain good security practices and passwords, it is understood that regardless of what steps are taken, nothing on the internet is unhackable. But that might be about to change.

The Development of an Unhackable Machine

The modern methods of resolving security flaws only after they arise is a reactive approach that won’t ever stop hackers from accessing private systems. In response, Todd Austin, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, innovated a proactive anti-hacking system.

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In their recent announcement, the University of Michigan revealed Austin has developed a processor designed to be completely invulnerable to hacking. The processor, named “Morpheus,” operates by dynamically encrypting and moving stored data at rates faster than hacking software can handle. As to its hardware, Morpheus is a RISC-V processor uniquely designed for enhanced data security.

Since online security breaches are often devastating, this new processor type could be a complete game changer for internet protection. To that end, if it performs successfully, Morpheus is intended to inhabit all potentially vulnerable electronic devices. This means that everything from home computers and smart devices, to powerful military systems, will see a massive boost in their defenses.

A Closer Look at How Morpheus Works

The way Morpheus protects data is by detecting code, encrypting it, and then rapidly shuffling it twenty times-per-second.

As Austin has explained, “Imagine trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube that rearranges itself every time you blink. That’s what hackers are up against with Morpheus. It makes the computer an unsolvable puzzle.”

The rate at which Morpheus performs is adjustable as well, allowing users to choose their strength between performance and security. However, that’s not to say that Morpheus is particularly draining on a system. For example, at that rate of twenty shuffles-per-second (once every 50 milliseconds) the processor’s performance only drops by roughly one percent.

At that speed, Morpheus’ data shuffling is already more rapid than the fastest known electronic hacking tools. Moreover, if Morpheus is set to a lower rate but detects a threat, it automatically increases its data shuffling speed.

Data Security of the Future

With these defenses in place, electronic systems may find themselves impervious to outside attacks before long.

But it’s important to remember that technology is always evolving, and escalation is a natural part of the relationship between hackers and data security. Whether hackers will find a way to adapt to Morpheus’ systems, and how long that could take, remains unclear.

As of now, there’s been no word on when Morpheus will actually make its way into the world. But once it’s ready, Austin’s company (Agita Labs) will oversee the processor’s marketing efforts.

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