When it comes time to shop for a videocard, most people are concerned about the pixel pushing power and how well a new GPU can handle Crysis. Yet others are more concerned with a videocard's ability to fit into a home theater PC setup, both physically and functionally. Some GPUs are even sought after for their ability to fold proteins, but apparently there's another use emerging, one with malicious intent.
According to Global Secure Systems, a Russian firm used Nvidia GPUs to break through WPA and WPA2 encryption. Assuming the report is accurate, the implications are nothing less than frightening, as GSS claims the brute force attack managed to accelerate WiFi 'password recovery' times by up to 10,000 percent.
"This breakthrough in brute force decryption of WiFi signals by Elcomsoft confirms our observations that firms can no longer rely on standards-based security to protect their data," noted David Hobson, managing director of GSS. "As a result, we now advise clients using WiFi in their offices to move on up to a VPM encryption system as well."
But even moving to a VPN may not be enough, as many VPNs use AES encryption just like WPA2. And by throwing videocards into the mix (it remains unclear which specific Nvidia GPUs were utilized), accessibility quickly becomes a growing concern.
Does this latest attack concern you? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
The technique leverages the parallel processing power of Nvidia’s latest graphics cards to speed up the “password recovery” process by 10,000 per cent. Global Security Systems (GSS) has advised enterprises to deploy VPNs for safeguarding their WiFi networks.
We, too, can only advise you to secure your office WiFi network using VPN encryption before professional industrial sleuths start waging brute forcing blitzkriegs using ordinary graphics cards.
There's no denying Nvidia has seen better days, but is the current situation enough to warrant leaving the chipset business? Back in August when the rumor first surfaced, Nvidia vehemently denied the speculation calling it "completely groundless," but apparently not everyone is convinced.
Nvidia saw its shares tumble nearly 14 percent yesterday following a negative report on the company from Pacific Crest analyst Michael McConnell. In the report, McConnell says "our checks confirm that Nvidia has decided to exit the chipset market next year," while also noting that chipsets are expected to account for 21 percent of Nvidia's revenue. McConnell also suggested Nvidia would likely pre-announce negative financial results for the third quarter ended October.
At the other end of the rumor spectrum, Mac-inites insist next generation MacBooks will come assembled with Nvidia silicon. Word on the web is that Nvidia has been showing off prototypes internally of the upcoming MacBook with Nvidia inside.
Nvidia has a new videcoard driver available for download, and for you poor saps on dial-up, it will come as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the 86.9MB download checks in at more than the twice the size of previously released drivers. But added bulk brings PhysX acceleration to the table for owners of Nvidia's GeForce 8, 9, and 200 series of videocards outfitted with a minimum of 256MB of video memory.
If you're anxious to see what potential lies in PhysX support, Nvidia offers a free GeForce Power Pack containing several demos, a full game (Warmonger), an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, and more.
The new driver also contains the usual assortment 3D application compatibility fixes, along with purported performance boosts in a handful of games. For example, Nvidia says single-GPU gamers can expect a 15 percent increase in Bioshock (DX10), 11 percent in Assassin's Creed (DX10), and 15 percent in Call of Duty 4, among other titles.
With Intel bracing itself for the discrete GPU market with its upcoming Larrabee chip, Nvidia and AMD are expected to make an earnest attempt at luring millions of users of integrated graphics with their low-end discrete graphics solutions – quid pro quo. ATI/AMD has launched its low-end offerings HD 4350 and HD 4550 with integrated graphics’ users in sight. The new GPUs are priced between $40 and $55.
The cards are based on AMD’s 55 nm 4800 series architecture and are claimed to hold an edge over Nvidia’s low-end 9400 series. Both the GPUs have 80 stream processors and are clocked at 600 MHz. The HD 4550 will come with either 256 MB or 512 MB GDDR3 memory. On the other hand, HD 4350 will only be available with 256 MB of DDR2. The GPUs are only going to consume 20 watts of power, which is 2/5 of the appetite for power of Nvidia’s 9400 series.
Less than two months ago, a class action lawsuit was filed in a Califorina court against AMD/ATI and Nvidia alleging that the two had "conspired to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize prices of graphics processing chips and cards." Giving the allegation widespread media attention, news and review site TomsHardware managed to obtain a handful of legal documents for the filing, including a few interesting email exchanges among ATI's and Nvidia's top brass.
According to reports, Nvidia has now offered a settlement agreement to the tune of $1.7 million. As outlined, the agreement would have Nvidia and AMD/ATI splitting the total fund, with each company paying $850,000. Not yet a done deal, there aren't any reports of AMD/ATI confirming the settlement agreement, and as detailed in the 8-K form that was filed on September 24, the agreement would still be "subject to court approval."
If it does go through, the money will go to the certified class who brought about the suit, which can include anyone who purchased a graphics card direct from Nvidia or ATI in the U.S. between December 4, 2002 and November 7, 2007.
Do you know the difference between a 9800 GTX and GTX+? How about an 8800 GTS 1st and 2nd generation? Well if you’re confused don’t worry, your not alone. Now finally after many years of dazzling and confusing customers, Nvidia is looking to make some permanent changes to help deal with the dizzying array of identifiers. The company is hoping that by years end it will have better control over card’s surnames in an attempt to give users a clear idea of the performance they can expect. Using this approach the GTX term would be reserved for the highest-end gaming cards with GS and GT being reserved for mainstream boards. Last but not least, gamers on a budget will be able to choose from a clearly labeled G series. This is clearly a follow up to the Radeon’s addition of the HD line and with any luck will help users figure out what kind of performance they can expect from a given card without scouring the web for comparisons. Rumor has it the 9400 GT will also be rebranded as the G100, and the 9500 GT through 9800 GT will become the GT120 to GT150 series.
I think you’ll agree these changes are long overdue.
I downloaded BioShock through Steam a couple weeks ago and have had trouble getting it to run. Sometimes it will randomly crash and send me back to the desktop with a message that tells me the display driver stopped working and has recovered successfully. I have to restart the program through Task Manager to get it to run again, but I can only play 5 to 10 minutes at a time. I have an Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT in a MacBook Pro running Vista 32-bit.
AMD continues to suffer through corporate misery, most recently by losing almost $1.2 billion in a single quarter, forcing the replacement of CEO Hector Ruiz with his subordinate, Dirk Meyer. If AMD collapses and Intel becomes the only major vendor of PC processors, will prices soar?
Unfortunately, monopolies usually do inflate prices. They also retard progress. AMD stimulates Intel to price its processors more aggressively and develop better processors. Without AMD, we might not have 64-bit x86 processors today or PC processors with integrated memory controllers. Right now, we’d probably be looking forward to the first quad-core x86 processors instead of the first eight-core chips.