Experts find way around secured data
Published: Feb. 22, 2008 at 2:55 PM
NEW YORK, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A simple method to steal encrypted information by freezing computer hard disks has been developed by a group of U.S. computer researchers.
The technique could be used to undermine security software protecting critical data on computers, The New York Times says. And, it's as easy as chilling a computer memory chip with an inexpensive blast of frigid air from a can.
The move, described on the Princeton University group's Web site Thursday, exploits a little-known vulnerability of the dynamic random access -- DRAM -- chip. Those chips temporarily hold data, which are supposed to disappear when the computer's electrical power is turned off.
But, the researchers discovered the chips retain memory for seconds or even minutes after power is cut, giving them ample time to freeze the chips with a blast of canned air so they can be read, the Times said.