What Threats Lie Ahead?
As technology improves and new ideas take hold, risk will increase accordingly. Some of the biggest threats include:
- Moore's Law: Moore’s Law states the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years. This leads to faster and more powerful CPUs, which will be used to perform calculations ever faster. We also have dual-core processors which multiply the processing power that can be applied to this task. Intel has even boasted about the development of an experimental 80-core CPU. While this isn’t available today, it is expected to be available within five years.
- High-end graphics cards: Today’s graphics cards are composed of multiple core processors and loaded with their own RAM. ATI and nVidia have each released development kits which allow for the development of programs that can leverage these powerful processors.
- Gaming consoles: Even more powerful than the high-end graphics cards are the PlayStation 3 gaming consoles. These systems are now internet-connected and provide even more powerful processing power. This technology has already been applied to the Folding@Home projects. A comparison of performance can be seen here. A quick glance shows the power of these two platforms in comparison to the various PC platforms. It’s only a matter of time before these techniques are applied to password cracking and other crypto-based tasks.