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How to Build a Computer from Scratch

May 2019 Video
Gabriel Somlo (SEI CERT), Rotem D. Guttman

Rotem Guttman and Gabe Somlo discuss how organizations with high-security needs can ensure their hardware is safe by using open source hardware or by building a computer.

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

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Abstract

In today’s market, chipmakers design and fabricate chips using supply chains, labor forces, locations, and processes that they don’t always monitor or control as closely as customers with high-security requirements need them to. Without proper security or visibility into how companies fabricate chips, a malicious actor could insert something into the hardware that would provide a way for attackers to target and exploit high-profile organizations that use it. In this SEI Cyber Talk episode, Rotem Guttman and Gabe Somlo discuss the benefits of using open source software and hardware, which can help to prevent such issues because open source products provide visibility into what they contain. Additionally, to give government and commercial organizations confidence that their systems are built correctly, Rotem and Gabe also discuss how they might build a computer on their own to ensure that outside sources have not purposely introduced ways of subverting it.