Necessity is the mother of invention and the inventing has not stopped yet. This is certainly the case for a new cybersecurity technology developed by PFP Cybersecurity. The 12-person startup in Vienna, Virginia, has created an amazingly innovative sensor device that discerns malevolent code changes (Dune Lawrence “Power Fingerprinting” Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/16/15–2/22/15, p. 34):
“Placed near a computer system or industrial equipment, PFP sensors analyze energy use patterns and create a so-called power fingerprint, then monitor energy use for changes. . . . Any failure or new code in the system shifts its fingerprint ever so slightly, and within milliseconds the PFP software sends an alert to security staff.”
The device looks for changes that we would not normally even be able to detect. This reminds me of some of the cybersecurity tools that analyze the user’s typing and keyboard habits as an additional data point in detecting intrusion attempts. Likewise, the PFP sensor is not an all-encompassing total solution, but it adds an additional layer of protection.
Many others have significant confidence in this new approach. PFP Cybersecurity has already worked with the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the military. It looks like power fingerprinting brings a new level of power to the cybersecurity war, and these days we can say, not a moment too soon.