The Link Between The World's Smallest Combination Lock And IT

from the mechanical,-digital,-who-cares? dept

It’s common to look for digital solutions to digital problems, but with the growing interest in MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) people are beginning to realize that there is a place for tiny mechanics in a digital world. The latest is a tiny mechanical lock that clamps shut if the wrong combination is entered – and won’t open again until manually reset by its owner. The creators of the lock claim that it makes it “virtually impossible to break in to websites”, which seems to be only asking for trouble. Based on just this article, I could already see how someone could cause problems for anyone using such a system. Just keep sending an incorrect passcode. Each time, the machine will lock up, and no one will be able to access it until it’s been manually unlocked – at which point a new incorrect passcode can be sent again.

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Comments on “The Link Between The World's Smallest Combination Lock And IT”

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bbay says:

not terribly useful

Why would I want a hardware gadget to do this? I’m not convinced that it would be any more effective than an analogous software mechanism.

And if the most widespread attacks were based on password guessing, this might actually be a useful technique. But how exactly does it protect against a buffer overflow or other attack that takes place outside of normal functional channels, as most attacks do?

A Quote:
“This device has a powerful potential – one that is readily understood by almost everyone,” said Larry Dalton, manager of Sandia’s High Integrity Software Systems Engineering Department. “I’ve been told by Department of Defense people that this is the first real technical advancement in information security that they’ve seen in a long time.”

Yeesh, I guess I just don’t get it. And who at the DoD said that? One of the cleaning staff?

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