A passion for turning the IT world upside down

Daniel Gruss is part of the team that caused chaos in the IT world with the discovery of the system loopholes Spectre and Meltdown. Few people thought he was career material – but he won through.

A blond haired young man sitting at a table working on the inner life of a computer.

Daniel Gruss knew very early on that his future would include many computers - today he is assistant professor at the Institute of Applied Information Processing and Communication Technology at Graz University of Technology. © Lunghammer – TU Graz

It was the night of the 3rd of January 2018 when the day-to-day life of Daniel Gruss, Michael Schwarz and Moritz Lipp and that of their doctoral supervisor Stefan Mangard abruptly changed for ever from the ground up. After days of speculation in blogs, on social media and in the press one thing was sure: the discovery of the Spectre and Meltdown computer attacks put the IT world into shock and propelled the international team that had discovered the loopholes – including the four researchers from Graz – all of a sudden into the limelight. Malware like this the IT world had not seen before, and many weeks went by during which the big chip producers were searching intensively for solutions. Weeks in which Gruss, Schwarz, Lipp and Mangard had to answer questions from the media almost every minute of their working day and give interviews.

What does it feel like to turn the tech world upside down? ‘Everything’s fine with us,’ laughs Daniel Gruss, sitting in his black office chair in the Graz Inffeldgasse – unusual for him since he’s normally jetting around the world talking about processor loopholes and hacker attacks. ‘The media fuss has meanwhile settled down. But we’re still being invited to talks or conferences each month to talk about our work.'

Read more about the unorthodox career path of Daniel Gruss and what he is focusing on in research at the TU Graz Institute of Applied Information Processing and Communication Technology now on Planet research.