I’m sure a little bit of C4 stuck on to the chip would work just as well. Though that’s not really viable for consumer electronics. ;)
I’m with 12B here, C4 seems like a terrible idea, whereas sticking a simple blasting cap on die seems like a pretty sensible solution. With a bit of engineering you could even build the micro blasting cap on the chip - lay down a heavy layer of SiO2, then a heavy layer of lead, then etch away some depth of the lead, deposit your primary explosive, then cap with more lead and a really heavy layer of oxide to prevent ESD. It really wouldn’t take much explosive to completely destroy the incredibly delicate chip underneath, so it’d be safe to handle the chips, but you’d need to be even more excruciatingly careful of ESD accidentally triggering the primary and cratering your chip.
An engineer with some shape charge knowledge could design it to use even less explosive if someone were truly worried about the amount of lead styphnate you’re putting on the chip, but it would take a few more process steps when depositing that heavy lead layer to get it shaped right, which would make this already expensive endeavor even worse.
But I think there is definitely a market for such a device… every spy agency on the planet would quickly form a love-hate relationship with flash NAND chips with this kind of self destruction unit on board.
(The video on the page did not run for me)
I don’t understand the encryption key example - if the key physically falls into the wrong hands, how are they going to instruct the chip to destruct?
Now I could see if it was meant as a sort of one-time pad for encrypting something after which you’d immediately want to dispose of any trace of the key (james bond stuff!), but if the key ever fell into the wrong hands pre-destruct you’re kinda boned, right? Is that just a poor example?
I suspect that a real key would be equipped with intrusion detection firmware which would then trigger the destruct by activating the resistor. The solution to this is to identify the heating resistor and apply a cooling couple to it to drain the heat while you hack the key …