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Backdoor (Computing) Summary

Method of bypassing normal authentication on a computer

Backdoor (computing)

A backdoor is a method, often secret, of bypassing normal authentication or encryption in a computer system, a product, or an embedded device (e.g. a home router), or its embodiment, e.g. as part of a cryptosystem, an algorithm, a chipset, or a "homunculus computer" —a tiny computer-within-a-computer (such as that as found in Intel's AMT technology). Backdoors are often used for securing remote access to a computer, or obtaining access to plaintext in cryptographic systems. A backdoor may take the form of a hidden part of a program, a separate program (e.g. Back Orifice may subvert the system through a rootkit), code in the firmware of the hardware, or parts of an operating system such as Windows. Trojan horses can be used to create vulnerabilities in a device. A Trojan Horse may appear to be an entirely legitimate program, but when executed, it enacts an activity that may install a backdoor. Although some are secretly installed, other backdoors are deliberate and widely known. These kinds of backdoors have "legitimate" uses such as providing the manufacturer with a way to restore user passwords. The backdoor may be used to gain access to passwords, delete data on hard drives, or transfer information within the cloud. Many systems that store information within the cloud fail to create accurate security measures. If many systems are connected within the cloud, hackers can gain access to all other platforms through the most vulnerable system.Default passwords (or other default credentials) can function as backdoors if they are not changed by the user. Some debugging features can also act as backdoors if they are not removed in the release version.In 1993, the United States government attempted to deploy an encryption system, the Clipper chip, with an explicit backdoor for law enforcement and national security access. The chip was unsuccessful.

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