This Device will Self-Destruct in 5 Seconds….

We have all seen a spy movie where the top secret information self-destructs. This is now a viable reality currently in the prototype stage.

Xerox PARC has developed a self-destructing chip made from Corning Gorilla Glass under a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) program, designed to store sensitive data such as encryption keys and certificates. This new technology uses silicon computer wafers attached or integrated into a piece of tempered Gorilla Glass.
During a demonstration at DARPA’s ‘Wait, What?’ event in St Louis in September 2015, a chip made with a photo-diode switch on the circuit triggered the chip to explode into a million pieces when a laser was shone on it.  The chip continued to shatter for 10 seconds after the initial explosion which makes it impossible to put back together. You can view the video here:
The circuit could also be triggered by a mechanical switch, bright light, or a radio signal from a remote location.
Although this is just in the development phase it will likely be used for government and military use long before we will see it in the market place. Its use in technology such as smart phones and laptops could be extremely useful.
Encryption keys on mobile devices are usually very long random numbers that are nearly impossible to crack, “but they are often protected by relatively weak passwords chosen by their owners,” said Chris Camejo, Director of Threat and Vulnerability Analysis for NTT Com Security US. [1] “Various forensics tools rely on this principle to crack the encryption technology included on most smartphones. Placing encryption keys on a self-destructing chip that could be activated if a device were lost or stolen would make it much more difficult for a thief to extract information.”[2]  These self-destructing chips could make remote wiping a lost laptop or phone even more effective by actually destroying the device. This would no doubt make the theft of devices less attractive.

References for Article:
[1] Germain, Jack M. (2015 September 22).  Exploding Chip Could Thwart Cyberthieves.  Tech News World.  Retrieved from
[2]  Germain, Jack M. (2015 September 22).  Exploding Chip Could Thwart Cyberthieves.  Tech News World.  Retrieved from

Tammy Malone  is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Tammy can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.
© 2016 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted

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