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A powerful method for extracting information from supposedly secure systems is side-channel attacks: cryptanalytic techniques that rely on information unintentionally leaked by computing devices. Most side-channel attack research has focused on electromagnetic emanations (TEMPEST), power consumption and, recently, diffuse visible light from CRT displays. The oldest eavesdropping channel, namely acoustic emanations, has received little attention. Our prelimary analysis of acoustic emanations from personal computers shows them to be a surprisingly rich source of information on CPU activity.

By now, you may have heard that Microsoft has received a Common Criteria certification for Windows 2000 (with service pack 3) at Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 4. Since a bunch of people know that I work on operating system security and on security assurance, I've received lots of notes asking "What does this mean?" On this page I will try to answer the question. For the impatient the answer is: "Security experts have been saying for years that the security of the Windows family of products is hopelessly inadequate. Now there is a rigorous government certification confirming this." Since that's a pretty strong statement, bear with me while I try to explain it in plain English. - Added: 30 September 2004 @ 22:31

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