Hacking to Preempt Hackers


While TG Daily pulled its post of what was apparently an off-the-record invitation to hack the OLPC by Ivan Krstić of OLPC at Toorcon, the Engadget follow-on story reveals the high level of security awareness of the One Laptop Per Child 2B1 Children's Machine's designers.

Another Droid Army

The One Laptop Per Child development team is very aware that they may be creating the largest computer monoculture in history - upwards of ten million practically identical laptops in the first year alone. Identical 2B1 computers that can instantly transmit code from one computer to another across a mesh network and the Internet.

The OLPC 2B1 development team is worried that hackers could create malicious code like rootkits, Trojans, viruses, and worms, which could spread instantly throughout the entire 2B1 laptop distribution, creating a global army of zombie bots. To counter this treat, they are proactively including computer security systems and reviews in every level of laptop design.

Carl-Daniel Hailfinger developed several technical Denial of Service (DoS) attack scenarios and even detailed who might want to launch a 2B1 Children's Machine DoS attack

Ivan Krstić was key in spearheading a secure 2B1 BIOS update system, and at the Toorcon computer security conference he wanted to have a quiet call for hackers to test his and others' security ideas.

I am overjoyed that the OLPC development team has the foresight and humility to ask the white hat hacker crowd to test the OLPC 2B1 security systems. I don't even want to imagine the actions and demands of a malicious hacker group in control of 10 million zombie bots.

Maybe now Nicholas Negroponte can also accept constructive criticism like the church, the Red Cross, and now his staff have.

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1 Comment

Do you think Bitfrost will really protect against hackers? I worry about bot armies more than I worry about Trojan horses or viruses. I don't think kids are smart enough to hack, but they could download bot-code.