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Stories by John Villasenor

A Hacker-Ready Chip

Researchers discover a dangerous weakness in computer hardware

August 1, 2012 — John Villasenor

Researchers Discover Hacker-Ready Computer Chips

A pair of security researchers in the U.K. have released a paper [PDF] documenting what they describe as the “first real world detection of a backdoor” in a microchip—an opening that could allow a malicious actor to monitor or change the information on the chip.

May 29, 2012 — John Villasenor

What Is a Drone, Anyway?

Soldier launching a Puma drone At a time when drone aircraft have become a daily feature of the news and are about to proliferate in U.S. airspace, it’s a good idea to take a step back and examine a very basic and very important question: What, exactly, is a drone?The answer turns out to be more complex than might be expected.

April 12, 2012 — John Villasenor

Here Come the Drones

These popular, unmanned aircraft will eventually fall into the hands of hostile nations and terrorists

January 1, 2012 — John Villasenor

The Drone Threat to Privacy

In a world in which nearly anyone can purchase a device capable of photographing locations behind walls, gates and fences, will anyone be able to keep a secret?

November 14, 2011 — John Villasenor

Supreme Court Considers GPS Cases and the Future of Privacy

If, in the early 1980s, the U.S. government had proposed a new crime-solving program requiring every adult to carry a small device that not only performed location tracking but also recorded the phone numbers of all recent contacts, opposition would have been swift and indignant.

November 8, 2011 — John Villasenor

Configurable Computing

Computers that modify their hardware circuits as they operate are opening a new era in computer design. Because they can filter data rapidly, they excel at pattern recognition, image processing and encryption

June 1, 1997 — John Villasenor and William H. Mangione-Smith