Speculative Data Assurance strategies: PROM’s

When we devise solutions, sometimes we have to enumerate them first, before we can think about them in sophisticated ways.

RFID can harden [here’s howtwo-factor authentication (something you have and something you know.) Perhaps PROM‘s can assist in a similar way.

Programmable Read Only Memory is supplemented by Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory, and Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. The one-way function of the Programmable ROM (usually ensured by ultra-violet erase, with a filter film covering,) would render it similar to a CD-ROM or a write-blocked SD Card.

PROM would differ from RFID in being subject to user initialization, with the necessary equipment, but thereafter becoming tamper-evident. This improves its appeal as an alternative to USB, for a dongle. An SD Card, with the write-block enabled, would serve a similar purpose.

Recent Snowden leaks assert NSA can tamper the USB channel. One would normally face this degree of scrutiny only if the information in question were of interest to a nation-state. Disreputable nation states subsidize industrial espionage, but the silent majority do not.

PROM’s have limited read bandwidth, so read-intensive operations would slow processing, which is usually not desirable, but could possibly be turned to advantage if creatively employed.

Theorizing infinite time, one could select a position on a CPU bus, to introduce an encrypted CPU core. This might differ from encrypted processing, or assist implementation.

A removable PROM could serve as a password-key which could be updated by replacement. These would not hot-swap, and current PROM’s are not manufactured to accommodate constant cycles of removal and re-installation.

Alternatively, we can theorize a hardware USB key encryptor, which implements, for example Truecrypt, with each hash and/or encryption algorithm on a separate (P)ROM, and designated by selector switches. Password entry might be accomplished with yet another PROM, or dip switches, or rotors a la the Enigma machine.

This scheme would obviate the requirement for the USB key end-user to know the password, and the USB drive would be secure in transit.


About James Johnson

I am an amateur mathematician & political theorist who enjoys (occasionally cerebral) humor.
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