Xerox PARC Constructs Self Destructive Chips to Safeguard Highly Sensitive Encryption Keys

By CIOReview | Tuesday, October 13, 2015

FREMONT, CA: PARC, a Xerox company is a provider of custom R&D services, technology, expertise, and IP brings in self-destructive chip. The chip self destructs itself upon command delivering a revolutionary solution for high-security applications.

Developed on behalf of Defense Advanced Research Projects' Agency’s (DARPA) vanishing programmable resources project, the chip is well suited for storing data such as encryption keys which on losing gives access to sensitive data. On giving command, the chip gets smashed to smithereens in just 10 seconds which can neither be recovered nor reconstructed.

“The applications we are interested in are data security and things like that,” says Gregory Whiting, a Senior Scientist, PARC. “We really wanted to come up with a system that was very rapid and compatible with commercial electronics. We take the glass and we ion-exchange temper it to build in stress. What you get is glass that, because it’s heavily stressed, breaks it fragments into tiny little pieces.”

The chip is built on Gorilla Glass, the Corning-produced tough glass used in the displays of most Smartphones. The chip puts forth further prospects in applications such as computer security. The destruction of the chip assures complete annihilation of the encryption key in an instant as a part of a routine process or when the key falls into the wrong hands. The initial customers of the technology will no doubt be the government and the military. But in near future they expect the technology to be deployed even in Smartphones so that the data are safe even when the phones are stolen.