[Cryptography] open hardware as a defence against state-level attacks

ianG iang at iang.org
Wed Jan 7 03:06:50 EST 2015

As much discussed here, it may be that open designs to defend against 
state level attacks are moving down the deployment stack into the 
hardware level:


  RT: The NSA has been trying to go after Tor users for a while now, but 
seemingly with little success. Do you think enough has been done to 
ensure this project will be NSA surveillance proof?

TL: The Tor network stands secure to the best of our knowledge, but we 
have taken the opportunity to armor the protocol further since this new 
application obviously will become a high priority target for 
intelligence agencies. In addition to the encryption Tor uses peers on 
the Slur network will have another layer of encryption based on a 
different line of mathematics. We’ve also built an open-source processor 
with security features designed to protect both the Tor relay and slow 
market applications. This is achieved by separating those processes from 
the host operating system with hardware-anchored cryptographic 
isolation. The system on chip is based on an OpenSPARC T1 by Sun 
Microsystems with substantial enhancements to the hypervisor and two 
cryptographic co-processors. That will be released in about a month and 
the designs for the development board and the logic of the system on 
chip will be of course open source.

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