Hardware «time-bomb» as the chip is able to intervene

© FotoliaВнедрение microchip is an electronic chipHardware «time-bomb» as the chip is able to intervene© Fotolia

Morning. Moscow. Near the entrance to the subway is a strange line of people trying to get in. From the transition goes the opposite flow. Several people discuss their travel cards, the number of trips for which reason void. Zero travel is displayed even on the maps that were purchased just in the underground vaults. Buses, trolleybuses, trams — all transportation is paralyzed due to a failure in the work cards. Specialists of the transport Department are trying to understand the situation, but understand that their computers somehow time stopped working. After a few hours it becomes clear that in such a situation were the transport departments of all cities.

This fantasy fantastic picture, really, is not so very impossible, if we assume that any chip that traditionally are purchased abroad, may have undocumented features. This time bomb embedded in the chip, traditionally called a bookmark. Should just remotely activate the hardware tab, and in disrepair can come electronic devices, cards, computers, any digital equipment.

Bookmarks (backdoors) can be divided into three groups: algorithms, software and hardware. Algorithmic bookmarks is a deliberate distortion of the hidden parts of the program algorithm, which may cause functions not provided for in the regulations. Software bookmarks entered directly into a digital code. But hardware are electronic chips, secretly introduced to the elements of the attacked information system.
There are two ways. You can add the chip additional logic circuit, and it is possible to change the existing scheme of microtransaction. If the first option is still possible, though very difficult to find by microscopy or by using a specialized search technique such modifications, the second method of placement of hardware tabs available for discovery at all.

Another known to the public option hardware bookmarks — the so-called «Lebanese loop» — technique, which locked the Bank card after it is inserted into the ATM. The card holder is trying to get her out, but this is impossible. However, as soon as he walks away from the ATM, the attacker can this card take.

Compared to these rough hardware options bookmarks modern technologies allow to place the desired logic at the design stage, hiding it inside billion microtransaction. While their number has changed hundreds and thousands, you could still locate that piece of logic, which is intended to describe actions that are not indicated in the program. When a billion transistors — a bookmark is simply impossible to detect.

Development of domestic IP blocks — it is extremely expensive for a single license on the design tool you will have to pay 100 000 dollars a month, in addition, the development will take a year and a half. Therefore, even in the domestic processors, such as the Baikal-T1 (base of machine control systems), used ready-made IP blocks foreign production, with potential possibility of implementing a hardware bookmarks. In the domestic credit card «the World» also used foreign IP blocks, despite the persistent proposals of the Russian manufacturers of microelectronics to create a Bank card from scratch. What is this national payment system, if there is a hypothetical possibility that somewhere in Korea will press a button and everything will burn?

Commented Director of communications, relations with state authorities JSC «NII of molecular electronics» (NIIME) Alexey Dianov: «We believe that the strategic sectors of the Russian economy should only be used domestic element base, because this is the only guarantee of absence of harmful bookmarks. And since we now life is all digital, these bookmarks can be everywhere. Until we get to the telecommunications, Finance, transport stood to the Russian microelectronics and preferably Russian production — we are potentially vulnerable. What we use, we use, in the hope that either there is nothing else recorded, or it will float. Agree, this is a very weak argument to make yourself feel protected.»