Security researcher nukes files with 'dead hand', despite not being dead

Arrigo Tiulzi was in hospital for pneumonia when his security system decided he was dead, and deleted all his files for safety. A security researcher working on zero-day exploits accidentally destroyed the local copies of his research after a "dead hand" system fired while he was in hospital with pneumonia.

Arrigo Triulzi, the co-founder of security firm K2 Defender, had set up the system to protect against attempts to silence his research. Such programs typically require a user to check in on a periodic basis to prove that they are still alive and well; if a check-in is missed, the system assumes the worst has happened and carries out the instructions it has filed away.

In Triulzi's case, that involved wiping his local machines, and disseminating his research around the world, encrypted so that only trusted friends could read it. Fortunately, Triulzi wasn't actually dead or under arrest, but in an Italian hospital on an IV drip for a case of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia.

"Embarrassing: when you are out because of third-line antibiotics for pneumonia and your dead hand system kicks in," Triulzi wrote, adding: "Not embarrassing: when said dead hand system works flawlessly thereby proving concept and demonstrating the shortcomings of the concept.

"This is all very embarrassing as I did not code a backdoor," which would have let him reverse his actions without requiring his friends encryption keys. "Oopsie." Triulzi, who declined to comment further to the Guardian, did get something done in hospital, however, fixing the organisation's DNS server, patching the main pneumology machine, and performing a quick password audit for the department:


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!