Bit Errors & the Internet of Things

  • 31 March 2014
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Internet traffic, misdirected to malicious bitsquatted domains, has plagued computer security for years. The consequences will be even worse for the IoT.

The digits zero and one are the natural language of computers. Almost anything can be represented inside a computer's memory simply by arranging zeros and ones into the proper sequence. However, because most computer memory consists of nothing more than a microscopic magnetic charge, these binary digits (bits) can also be susceptible to the conditions of their physical environment.

Our bits are stored inside increasingly compact devices that function outside in the harsh environment of Planet Earth. Many of our devices are routinely subjected to extremes in temperature, in addition to hazards such as cosmic rays, which strike the Earth's surface as often as 10,000 times per square meter, per second. Under adverse conditions such as these, a one occasionally and inadvertently flips state to become a zero, or vice versa.
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