‘If somebody tells you they can protect your data, it is not true’, says Turing laureate
Computer scientist Joseph Sifakis, winner of Turing Award, considered equivalent to Nobel prize for computing, in 2007, expressed concerns over security in systems today.
Published: 16th January 2018 03:18 AM | Last Updated: 17th January 2018 10:40 PM | A+A A-
MANGALURU: Computer scientist Joseph Sifakis, winner of Turing Award, considered equivalent to Nobel prize for computing, in 2007, expressed concerns over security in systems today.
“There is no secure system today, all systems can be intruded for sure,” he said.
He won the prize for developing a technique where one can use a mathematical model to ensure a system will act correctly. It replaces the expensive and trial and error method on prototypes.
“When I started my research, engineers were building systems and then testing it to see if it works. My idea was to replace this with a mathematical model,” he said about his contribution to system verification, where there is foolproofing before forming a system.
In system verification, you check for two major aspects — safety and security, he said. Safety means if in a system something goes wrong, it was because of faulty design.It can be rectified with assistance because you understand how materials behave.
However, security, is the major issue. “Security is about resistance to human attacks. That cannot be predicted. It is hard to cope with human attackers because they use imagination,” he said.
A major debate on Aadhaar card, about data security and privacy was addressed by him. He said there are security threats and serious concerns for privacy.
“There is no absolute protection. Please understand that. If somebody tells you we can protect this data, it is not true. There is no guarantee,” he said.
“You cannot calculate the degree of security for a system. Nobody can say that this system cannot be intruded. There is absolutely no theory to do that. We know that systems have a lot of loopholes and can be intruded. So, that is the issue,” he observed.
He said security was a global problem, extended even to data security.
“Intruders do not come to alter your data. They want to be seemless. So, with spywares, they stay hidden, sometimes even for 10 years. In special cases, they make an attack if needed,” he said.
His India connection
In 1980’s Sifakis collaborated with Airbus to build the first fly-by-wire aircraft. India also bought the A320 during Rajiv Gandhi’s time. Sifakis has almost 50 years of computer expertise, beginning from 1970.