Wednesday 31 December 2008

Approaching the end of the Noughtie’s – Moore’s Law and beyond !

As the clocks here in Oxford tick down to GMT 23:61 December 31 2008 (yes – there is an added leap-second this year) it is time to consider what the last year of the “noughties” (i.e. 200x A.D.) has in store for the world. It is common for those in the IT Security trade to forecast doom and gloom ahead. With our lives now dominated by the highly volatile world of digital computing it is rare that anyone gets their predictions correct.

A great exception to this has been the forecasts of Intel founder, Gordon Moore, and his “law” that the number of components on an integrated circuit doubles about every two years. This exponential growth has meant that the power of computers today far outstrips those of yesteryear. With the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing it is sober to realize that the power of the disposable CPUs on our chip-and-pin credit/debit cards exceeds that of the guidance system on the Eagle (the lunar-lander).

With such ubiquitous computing and the growth in the number and complexity of applications, my forecast is that exploits, like integrated circuit density, will obey a “Moore’s Law”. I expect exponential growth of exploits, fueled by profits from e-crime, to continue. The visible evidence for such a law will mount up in 2009.

Whilst the speed of light and the size of atoms seem to be limits that might affect Moore’s Law when it comes to the current technology of chips – what might control the limits of e-crime exploits in the future?

I wish you all a very rewarding 2009!