Protecting the accounts of users is a huge point of concern across the Internet, but the gaming industry may have just caught a break. The PUFFIN Project (physically unclonable functions found in standard PC components) has brought forward research suggesting that GPU manufacturing processes leave each product with a unique "fingerprint."
The PUFFIN team has created software that can detect these physical differences between GPUs. The resulting software could be implemented into a new kind of user authentication. Obviously, this could not function as a standalone solution to user account hacking, but it could provide a useful new step in making sure that player's accounts are safe. Given that PUFFIN is implementable on the software side, it could be added to gaming platforms in a relatively simple fashion. Once an allowance has been made to let players register multiple GPU identities, PUFFIN's new findings could be well on its way to making a useful addition to security.
The next step for PUFFIN is to look for these "physically unclonable functions" in other parts of consumer electronics hardware. Their research will run the gamut of devices, from desktop PCs to laptops, tablets and even smartphones. Their research will run until 2015.