When Computers are Not Secure – Running Programs Not Code

Computers are transparent by design. You cannot hide the bits in a computer. It looks like you can, but that is an illusion of process and representation. Most of us cannot break that illusion in practice so security often appears to work. Others do exist who made the pilgrimage to divine the fundamental patterns of the machine and can pry it open with great ease. The journey to do so does not take long and the visibility of bits are just under the surface. The machines were never designed to hide.

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Figure 1 - Typical Layout of Computer Hardware

Another design may be possible. You can hide the bits. It begins with making the computer processor more aware of programs. Processors take little bits of a program and execute it. The span of a program is known but all its bits are unaccounted for. That makes running code, chunks of bits at a time easier on the processor but leaves open the ability to hijack the bits that are waiting in queue. A different design is possible.

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Figure 2 - Layout of Fully Secure Computer Hardware

This is a concept and it may not be feasible, practical, or economical. The point is, another way can be conceived. Steve Wozniak was not originally part of the hardware design establishment but his efforts eventually had a significant impact on computing. That will happen again as some future innovator figures out the problem by departing what was for what could be.

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