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Security for embedded systems on chip


In the Post-PC world computations move from a central processor based model to one where computations move close to the environment. Wireless embedded devices, like cell phones, PDA's, ambient intelligent systems, environment monitoring, intelligent home appliances pick up information from the environment and process it in a distributed fashion, local to the events. This has a profound impact on security. It used to be that security protocols and algorithms ran on powerful processors, which were assumed to run in a secure environment. Security then focuses on protecting the distrusted communication links. Examples are firewalls and VPN's. In an environment of small-embedded distributed, wireless connected devices, this basic assumption does not hold anymore.

The embedded device itself is vulnerable to attacks, ranging from radio jamming to theft to side-channel attacks. The focus of this proposal is the efficient support of security in resource-constrained devices. Embedded devices have limited energy supply or are battery operated, run on small-embedded processors and have a limited amount of storage. Both the communication between devices and the devices themselves need security protection. An embedded system ¡s only as secure as its weakest link. Hence, we propose a systematic comprehensive approach to the problem. We plan to integrate a security vision in a SoC (System-on-chip) integrated circuit design flow.

This means that the different abstraction levels of the design need consideration.
1) At the protocol level, we investigate the scalability, the energy and memory cost of key distribution protocols. This takes into account the computation versus communication trade-off (e.g. radio energy or bandwidth constraints).
2) At the architecture level, energy efficient, expressed in cipher bits per Joule, and side-channel resistant co-processors for encryption algorithms will be developed.
3) Security has a time and area

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

IRG - Marie Curie actions-International re-integration grants


Oude Markt 13