Apr 25, 2022

This ‘Tamper-Evident Container’ Snitches on Meddlers and Thieves

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, encryption

The 3D-printed containers keep a log of all break-in attempts, meaning your snail mail just got way safer.

Suppose you want to mail a court document to someone across the country—you don’t want anyone to see the secure information inside, of course. So, you seal it into a container that has special sensors built into its walls, and electronics that monitor the shield of sensors. Now, the container is armed and monitoring.

On the way to its intended recipient, let’s say the container is hacked. When the intended recipient later opens the container, they pull out the court document, along with an SD card (just like the ones you might use to store digital photos). They plug the card into a computer and look at the file. They see an encrypted historical record of the container’s experiences, from the time you put that document into the container and sealed it, up until the time they opened it. In the list of messages is a notification about a tampering attack, along with the date and time of the incident. The message also specifies the type of breach detected, such as the container being opened or cut.

A team at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico hopes this ability to see recorded, real-time security information about sensitive physical materials will become an everyday tool. Using a 3D printer, engineers built a prototype “Tamper-Evident Container” (TEC) that looks like a cylindrical box on the outside, but inside holds a complex network of sensors and electronics that record potential break-ins.

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