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ARM Innovation Hub
10 May, 2016 - 11:12 By Kate Sweeney

Bromium invokes spirit of Turing as cyber attacks escalate

bromium, cyber security, micro-vertilisation

Cambridge cyber security specialist Bromium has slammed the laissez faire approach of major businesses that is leaving their computer systems wide open to attack.

CTO and co-founder Simon Crosby called for a radical change in attitude after the Government revealed that two-thirds of large UK businesses are being hit by cyber security attacks.

Crosby said there was no  justification for such ignorance and inaction given that Alan Turing had flagged up the vulnerability of computers to viruses in the 1930s – 50 years before the birth of the PC!

Cambridge Computer Lab spin-out Bromium claimed it has never had any endpoint protected by its technology compromised.

Crosby said: “The government findings confirm that the cyber security landscape in the UK is similar to other advanced nations: We are experiencing sustained, targeted attacks that legacy detection technologies cannot see or stop.

“Organisations need to urgently adopt a new posture that protects endpoint systems by design using virtualisation-based security. It is unrealistic to expect that OS vendors or application vendors can stay ahead. A radical change is urgently needed.”

Crosby added: “In the 1930s at Cambridge Alan Turing showed that the ‘halting problem’ – one program trying to determine if another program is good or bad – was not solvable.

“In other words, 50 years before the birth of the PC, it was known that anti-virus programs would inevitably fail. Today’s computer malware mutates rapidly – over 90 per cent of it lasts less than a minute – so there is no way to distribute signatures fast enough to allow endpoints to protect themselves.

“Yet it turns out that research with origins at Cambridge holds the promise to make computer systems massively more secure than today’s PCs. The insight uses technology called hardware virtualisation – which is on the CPU of every device – to hardware-isolate all operating system tasks that process content from the web, USB or untrusted documents, ensuring that it has no ability to steal data, access networks or infect the endpoint.”

Micro-virtualisation, is so important that Bromium – the company that pioneered it – has worked with Microsoft to enable Windows 10 to incorporate some of the core technology.

Fraser Kyne, of Bromium Cambridge said the technology was so secure that no endpoint that it protects has ever been compromised. Bromium is the brainchild of Crosby and Ian Pratt – both former lecturers at the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge.

Leveraging a transatlantic model steered from Cambridge UK and California in the US, Bromium now employs over 80 people in Cambridge and almost 200 worldwide.

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