A new type of microprocessor called the “Morpheus” CPU is being praised for its security features as nearly 600 experts failed to hack the processor in a series of tests. This CPU is able to continually rewrite its architecture, which is why it is known as the “shapeshifting” CPU.
Thanks to this, it becomes impossible for attackers to target the kind of flaws that allow Spectre and Meltdown attacks on traditional x86 processors.
The Morpheus CPU was developed as part of a DARPA-funded project. A total of 580 experts tried to hack the processor by injecting a code into a machine as part of the test. Despite spending over 13,000 hours in total to crack the computer, the experts failed to do so.
The new CPU does so by encrypting memory pointers every 100 milliseconds, over and over. By constantly encrypting data, the CPU denies the time window necessary for a hacker to launch an attack. In simpler words, it is trying to solve a Rubik’s cube that is constantly shifting itself in milliseconds.
Todd Austin, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan said:
People are constantly writing code, and as long as there is new code, there will be new bugs and security vulnerabilities. With Morpheus, even if a hacker finds a bug, the information needed to exploit it vanishes 50 milliseconds later. It’s perhaps the closest thing to a future-proof secure system.
The Morpheus is not as fast or strong as traditional high-end x86 processors, but it is by far the most secure microprocessor we have seen yet. As the technology develops in the future, we can expect to see more powerful iterations of Morpheus later on.