Larry Ellison just painted a frightening picture of what hackers could do next

Larry Ellison

Business Insider

Oracle executive chairman and CTO, Larry Ellison

Oracle's Larry Ellison announced a major new way of securing computers and software applications on Tuesday during his company's giant tech conference in San Francisco.

He's not just trying to protect people from what hackers steal today, but the even scarier hacks of the future, he said.

Today, hackers tend to steal information like credit cards, where they can sell them on the internet via sites like Rescator. Advertisement

"That isn't even on the dark web," he said of Rescator. The dark web is the criminal internet that requires special browsers to access. You can reach Rescator on the regular web. "These servers are in Russia nothing we can do about it."

Then he explained, "You think stealing data is bad, wait until you can change data."

He said hacking to change data has already been done in big ways. "We did it. The US did it before we signed an agreement with Iran, to slow down their nuclear research."

He was referring to the Stuxnet virus, a joint U.S.-Israel project known for reportedly destroying roughly a fifth of Iran's nuclear centrifuges by causing them to spin out of control.

"We went into centrifuges and made them go faster than they were supposed to go," he said.
Oracle Always On Security

Business Insider

Oracle Always On Security

He even explained how Stuxnet worked and how build a nuclear weapon with an impressive amount of technical detail, joking, "Don't worry, all of this is on the public web. Yes, I do have a high-level security clearance, but I'm not going to brief you on stuff on stuff I'm not supposed to."Advertisement

It's likely true about his security clearance. His first customer for Oracle was the CIA.

When hackers master changing data they could do things like change air traffic control data (which he says has never been done) or "change bank balances so they all slightly different," he warned.

Naturally, he wasn't just trying to scare the world. He thinks Oracle has solved that problem with the new thing called "Always-on Security in Silicon."Advertisement

That means that products built with Oracle's latest M7 SPARC chips released this week, will have a bunch of security features built-into the chip and always turned on. IT professionals cannot turn these features off.

For instance, with these chips, hackers won't be able to hack into a computer's memory, which is their treasure trove for stealing data and also for changing it. And all data will also be encrypted, with encryption and decryption working nearly instantaneously with no drag on a computer's overall performance, he promised.

Oracle needs to keep investing in its SPARC chips, making them extra special. That's how Oracle will convince IT professionals to buy its most expensive servers instead of buying industry standard Intel servers, which run Windows and every kind of software.Advertisement

Meanwhile, Oracle these days is all about the cloud. And Oracle is using all of its latest and greatest hardware in its own cloud, including computers servers running the M7. Ellison is very proud of that fact.

We're our own biggest customer," he said. So that means that Oracle cloud customers get this "always-on" security, too.