Want security? You'd better wait for the new era of computing

Complexity in software design needs to be eliminated otherwise computing's future era will be no more secure than applications in the current era.

So says Dr Klaus Brunnstein, president of the International Federation for Information Processing speaking at SEARCC 05 yesterday, who added: "Currently, we add complexity to secure insecure systems."

Brunnstein said to secure an insecure product such as Microsoft Windows, a patch needs to be applied. Even then, that patch could do more harm than good.

"Security is an issue of design," he said.

With complex systems of design, nobody understands what is happening deep in the system, he says.

"As a result we have ended up with the current state of play: worm outbreaks, DoS attacks and phishing and pharming attacks."

Brunnstein believes the design of the OSI (Operating Systems Interconnection) architectural model, on which the current IT model is based, is flawed (the model is divided into seven layers starting at Physical and ending at Application). "OSI is underestimating the problems below [in the OSI stack.]"

The Application layer sits at the top of this stack and these applications, according to Brunnstein, are written by vendors in a supply-side dynamic. "There is no interoperation with the customer. What you get is what they want. In this educated society we must not rely on the manufacturer's wisdom."

In the future era of computing, whether that be quantum or light, the implementation of software must be customer-driven, or demand-side. "Implementation must come from the bottom up."

Brunnstein says this is achievable in the quantum era because we will begin with a new paradigm.

At present calculations, Moore's Law is expected to run its course in 2018 or 2019. Under this theory the speed of processing is increased when two atoms are brought closer together.

Under this principle there is certainty: "If, Then, Else". In other words 0 or 1 (if you are not on, then you are off.)

Soon though, we'll be at the level where we can get more speed only when we go into an atom, Brunnstein says.

Thus, quantum computing theory moves from certain to the uncertain: If, Then, Else and Otherwise.

"Contemporary logic will no longer be valid," he says.

In the meantime, Brunnstein says consumers should put pressure on producers to refund them for the damage their half-baked products have caused. He singled out Microsoft's Bill Gates. "We must force him to pay for the damage he has caused."

IDG is the official organizer and media sponsor of the SEARCC 05 conference.

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