The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Monday, August 17, 2020

WANTED: better security => fewer updates => better reliability

 Wasted two hours this morning:  when I started, neither the builtin keyboard nor the trackpad of my Surface Book 3 were working.  Fortunately, the touchscreen was working,  but it is hard  to do real work without a real keyboard.

Fruitless fix recommendations from the web, eventually uninstalled recent  Windows updates,  and after a few reboot cycles keyboard and trackpad were working again.

Most recent updates were four days ago.  I remember wondering if I should delay the update.  but the desire to use recent security fixes won out.

 I do not know  with the certainty that the updates caused my problems this morning.  It might've been a coincidence,  a random disk error. 

But...  I feel pretty much sure that I wouldn't be applying updates anywhere near as frequently  if there were not security issues. Otherwise, why breaks things that are working?    and software updates are one of the biggest causes of computer problems, both for me and for other people.

This is one of the reasons why I work on security technologies like capabilities/checked pointers and  memory tagging:   not just security, but also to increase reliability.

 Of course security and reliability go together. The very concept of a denial of service attack means that security is reducing reliability and availability. But it's not just DOS attacks -  the very act of a software update, for security, reduces reliability.


 Unfortunately, I never really got to see my security projects to completion at Intel: MPX  is a piss poor version of what I wanted to do with respect to capabilities/checked pointers.  

I hope that I can such security technologies become real as part of RISC-V.