Progress through Processors

Yesterday, TechWorthy posted about a fantastic opportunity for you to get involved with scientific research taking place around the globe- and all you need is a Facebook account and a minute to download a new application. You can choose from among several scientific endeavors to lend your computing power to, and there appears to be no downside. The program only uses processing capabilities that you aren’t accessing, and your own needs will always come first. The moment you need all of your computer’s power, you’ll have it- the processor sharing application will run quietly in the background, and you’ll never know that it’s there.

I would have downloaded it right away except for one concern: security. While I’m no IA expert, it seems to me that if another computer is being allowed to access my processing power, someone could easily conduct a man-in-the-middle type attack to take over my computer, and the post I’d read did little to address my worries.

This morning, however, I found an article on Wired.com which claims that Progress through Processors creates a folder on your computer which is incapable of accessing the rest of your hard drive, so all of your files are safe. Furthermore, there is a one way interaction: “No third party site contacts your computer. It’s only your computer that reaches out.”

I’m not entirely sure how that’s possible, but I’m willing to trust that until I learn anything to the contrary. I’ll begin donating my processing power tonight.

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2 thoughts on “Progress through Processors

  1. If it works the same as other processing power type applications then it works by sending your computer a chunk of data, you process it and then once done, send it back to the main server.

    So rather than the server connecting to your computer to use it you do the processing for the server and then send it back to them.

    Hope that sheds some light!

  2. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. It is a security risk. It basically opens a back door communications channel to a server in the cloud, which bypasses your firewall in the majority of cases. You have to trust the client application you downloaded and the server it’s connecting to.

    Personally, I run it on a machine that has a very limited amount of personal information on it and can be wiped and brought back up easily if need be. I don’t think I would run anything like this on my main PC.

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