As the world becomes more and more dependent on technology, it also becomes imminently more hackable. That’s where DARPA’s latest breakthrough comes in.
The advanced research defense firm is working on a new type of computer code that will (hopefully) prove to be essentially hack-proof. DARPA tested out the security mechanism by allowing a team of hackers six weeks to try and take control of a drone. They even gave the team extra access to the hardware (which a hacker typically wouldn’t have) and they couldn’t bust through.
Wired reports the computer code underpinning the hardware was essentially unhackable with current technology. The report notes the code is “as trustworthy as a mathematical proof.” The programming approach is known as formal verification, and it’s written informally and evaluated based on whether it works or not. The language follows step-by-step, logically, and can be tested just like a mathematical proof.
So why is this formal verification essentially hack-proof? Because most hacks are made by exploiting bugs and errors in code. Code that’s gone through this process, with this approach, is supposed to be bug-proof. So there are no holes for hackers to exploit, because the code just works.
The code is hard to pull off and requires a ton of work and testing, and it’s only in the early stages, but the benefits are huge. The idea would be to use this coding technique for the underpinnings of things like public utilities and home automation (you know, stuff you really don’t want to be hacked and taken over).