The Night Sky: A Source of Security

In honor of the return of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos to television, we are going to take a minute to appreciate the night sky. Being so close to a major city can make it a little difficult to see the stars due to the exorbitant amount of light pollution that emanates from the urban center (have you seen Time Square?). But, when the cosmos are fully visible, it is hard not to be overcome with wonder. Humans have tried to create patterns out of the night sky for thousands of years (i.e. constellations), but no matter how hard we search, or how much we think we know, there is always something that emerges and changes our celestial maps. Such immensity and entropy define the universe and also, surprisingly enough, have created the perfect blueprint for you to protect your devices from those that would seek to tamper with them.

A Security Problem

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Holy crap! This is going to cost so much money,” or, “Who on Earth is going to break into my devices?” The truth is that there are plenty of people out there that would love to have access to your passwords, social security number, credit card, and business information, and they are typically very good at what they do. They can work their way through computer security products, like specially designed seals and screws, with ease. And, once they’re done, you’ll never know they were there.

How to Mimic the Cosmos

According to Ryan Lackey, the lack of detection comes from the criminals’ ability to duplicate and forge new parts, thereby leaving your computer (or other devices) in pretty much the same condition it was in before it was hacked. In order to prevent further incursions into your hardware, you need something unforgeable, something entropic.

You need glitter nail polish, motor skills, and humility (for those guys out there who are afraid of having their laptop glitter bombed). Here’s how to use these computer security products effectively:

  1. Buy glitter nail-polish
  2. Paint glitter over screws or onto stickers placed over ports
  3. Take a picture
  4. Admire your now bedazzled hardware

By taking a picture of the glitter pattern over the ports you will be able to utilize a technique used by astronomers for decades--it’s called blink comparison. Blink comparison allows you to compare two photos together and analyze the similarities and differences. If someone tried to reapply the glitter after breaking the seal, you will have ample time to contact authorities and catch the person who has stolen your property.

Here is to your future cyber security and, for you astronomy buffs out there, here’s to the next episode of Cosmos!

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