Last summer, 580 cybersecurity researchers spent 13,000 hours trying to break into a new kind of processor. They all failed.
The hack attack was the first big test in a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA) program called Security Integrated Through Hardware and firmware (SSITH). It’s aimed at developing processors that are inherently immune to whole classes of hardware vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malware. (Spectre and Meltdown are among those.)
A total of 10 vulnerabilities were uncovered among the five processors developed for SSITH, but none of those weak points were found in the University of Michigan processor, called Morpheus. Michigan professor of electrical engineering and computer science Todd Austin explained what makes Morpheus so puzzling for hackers to penetrate.