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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of California-San Diego
  • Ryan Kastner
  • (858) 534-8908
Award Date:07/24/2015
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 516,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 532,000
  • FY 2016=$16,000
  • FY 2015=$516,000
Start Date:09/01/2015
End Date:08/31/2018
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.070
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:TWC: Small: Employing Information Theoretic Metrics to Quantify and Enhance the Security of Hardware Designs
Federal Award ID Number:1527631
DUNS ID:804355790
Parent DUNS ID:071549000
Program:Secure &Trustworthy Cyberspace
Program Officer:
  • Sandip Kundu
  • (703) 292-8950

Awardee Location

Street:Office of Contract & Grant Admin
City:La Jolla
County:La Jolla
Awardee Cong. District:49

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of California-San Diego
City:La Jolla
County:La Jolla
Cong. District:49

Abstract at Time of Award

Computing devices control much of the world around us. They power smart phones, kitchen appliances, cars, power grids, medical devices, and many of the other objects that we rely upon in our everyday lives. The foundation of these systems is the hardware, which are complex multi-billion transistor chips. Gaining control of the hardware provides unfettered access to every part of the system. This makes it a highly attractive target for attackers. Compromised hardware allows unauthorized users to obtain personal information, and can be used to force the device into unsafe and potentially life threatening scenarios. Thus, it is paramount to develop techniques to enable secure hardware design. Creating secure hardware requires the designer to assess potential vulnerabilities. Currently it is hard to concretely say anything about the security (or lack thereof) of the hardware. This project is developing quantitative hardware security metrics that enable designers to precisely evaluate the security of the system. The team is attempting this by employing statistical measures on the amount of uncertainty and information flow that is present across different portions of the hardware. These metrics are oblivious to the types of variables under consideration. Thus, the team can assess both functional security properties related to confidentiality and integrity as well as covert channels. These metrics enable the characterization of portions of the system that are potentially vulnerable to attacks. And they determine the effectiveness of mitigation techniques on the overall security of the system. The end result is more secure hardware, which leads to safer and more secure computing devices.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Baolei Mao, Wei Hu, Alric Althoff, Janarbek Matai, Jonathan Valamehr, Timothy Sherwood, Dejun Mu, and Ryan Kastner "Quantifying Timing-Based Information Flow in Cryptographic Hardware" IEEE/ACM International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (ICCAD), v., 2015, p..

Ryan Kastner, Wei Hu, and Alric Althoff "Quantifying Hardware Security Using Joint Information Flow Analysis" Design, Automation & Test in Europe Conference & Exhibition (DATE), v., 2016, p..

Wei Hu, Baolei Mao, Jason Oberg, and Ryan Kastner "Detecting Hardware Trojans with Gate-Level Information-Flow Tracking" IEEE Computer Special Issue on Security of Hardware and Software Supply Chain, v., 2016, p..

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