Moore's Law and Security

Intel’s announcement that they will start manufacturing processors with transistors 45 nanometres wide means that Moore’s Law remains intact. For several years pessimists have speculated that this law is beginning to break down. Clearly this is not the case. For as any student of the future will tell you, technology doesn’t develop in straight lines or follow steady curves. It evolves in leaps and bounds. As the legendary Richard Feynman, a nuclear physicist, once put it “There’s plenty of room at the bottom”. There’s also a good deal of inefficiency in many legacy platforms and systems. So improvements can and will continue at an unpredictable pace.

What does this mean for Security? Not much for the short-term. But faster computing means a change to the balance of threats and capabilities. It means better monitoring, easier compliance, faster cryptography and quicker codebreaking. It also means new opportunities to junk expensive, slow legacy systems and install secure protocols and authentication systems. So all security professionals should keep an eye on the future. After all history shows that it can take the best part of a decade to replace deep-seated algorithms in legacy infrastructure.

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