Posted November 3rd, 2010
METROTECH — You are an undercover agent working in an overseas chip manufacturing company — and you are secretly altering chip designs so they can be deployed in malicious missions long after they have been implanted into electronic devices shipped to the U.S. The chip designer believes he can detect any unwanted modifications made during manufacturing. The challenge is to alter the chip undetected.
This was just one of the difficult cyber-challenges thrown at competitors this past Friday at the Seventh Annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) Challenges, held at Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). Hundreds of the country’s best student hackers and cyber-security researchers gathered around their computers in the university gym to show their prowess in fighting — or installing — malware, booby-trapped devices and tampered web applications.
“[One student team] The Blue Team — they put the defenses into the chip. These [other] contestants are trying to break them,” said Professor Ramesh Karri, associate professor at NYU-Poly’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.