Last Updated:
Card Shuffler

An End to Hacking?

Lucian L
Lucian L Cybersecurity

Could there finally be a workable solution for what looks to be a increased amount of hacking around the world? As you know, the growing consensus from governments, organizations , corporations and the like is that hacking is already a serious issue. From the reported 500 Million Yahoo accounts to allegations of Russian hacking to influence the most recent election it would seem that hacking has morphed into an unstoppable force.

But then again, maybe not. At least if the technology only just recently unveiled at the USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems and Design in Savannah, Georgia. There, an entirely new approach to thwarting the best efforts of hackers was revealed. This radical new hacking countermeasure shows up in the form of a rather innovative new program that you will most likely hear quite a bit more about in the coming months.

This program is named Shuffler. Get this, the Shuffler is engineered to in effect, scramble the base code of the program in real time as the program itself is running. First a bit of background so that the power of this technique is understandable.

Here is what you need to know. Even in the best of scenarios, after numerous debugging protocols and steps, the accepted standard in the programming world is about 50 errors per 1,000 lines of code. The important thing to note is that each and everyone of those errors present an opportunity, or a doorway if you will for an enterprising hacker. Although computer security defense techniques are constantly evolving, the reality is that enterprising hackers are oftentimes able to devise workarounds.

Yet the alternative made available by the Shuffler program may change all of that. Since the Shuffler scrambles the code in real time, the thinking behind this approach is that even the best hacking team will not be able exploit the software bugs. In the words of the study’s lead author David Williams-King, a graduate student at the esteemed Columbia University Engineering Department “Shuffler makes it nearly impossible to turn a bug into a functioning attack”.

Note that Shuffler is designed from the offset to be user-friendly as it runs alongside the code it is guarding all without the need to recompile the actual program itself or the operating system itself. Get this: Shuffler even adds in the additional protective measure of randomizing its own code blocks to defend against any software bugs in its code.

Will Shuffler be the long awaited solution to computer hacking? Although it is too early to forecast such a scenario, the early indications are definitely promising.