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BOFH - The Tin Whiskers Excuse Print E-mail
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Source: - Posted by Anthony Pell   
Security Tin whiskers are a vaguely-understood electromechanical process that is related to the use of completely tin solder as opposed to tin-lead amalgam solder. It is a problem that has been known for a decade or more, but it is becoming more pervasive due to a rise in reliance on electronics. Because of the near outright ban of lead based solders in some places in the world, the completely tin process has led to an increase in faults. Tin whiskers can cause short circuits and even metal vapor arcing which can literally fry electronics.

Some of the issue around education of the issue is around planned obsolescence - the computer industry expects that people will just replace their computers with new ones when new ones become available. A hardware failure is just another kick in the butt to shell out for that new Mac Book Pro you’ve been drooling over. People always want the best and greatest and this is reason enough. But the problem is there is a lot of hardware out there that runs a lot of what we rely on that will stay in place for a decade or more in some cases. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? The problem is that it will break, and it’ll break in unpredictable ways.

Routers, switches, database servers, UPS systems, emergency sensors, orbital satellites, SCADA systems, cars, airplanes, etc… etc… Our jobs, and more critically our lives, literally depend on a lot of physical hardware to function. Unfortunately, a lot of this tech relies on scary build processes that are destined to fail.

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