26 th November, 2021

"Hardware Security and Assurance: The Power of Reverse Engineering"
Prof. Domenic Forte, University of Florida

Recording of this talk: Click Here to view on YouTube

Slides for this talk: Click Here to download

Time: 26th November, 2021, Friday 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm IST

Abstract: Traditional cybersecurity focuses on software and networking and relies on an inherent trust of the underlying hardware. However, the argument that hardware is inherently trustworthy is no longer accurate. The economics of the modern semiconductor industry has created a horizontal supply chain that involves more and more untrusted organizations and IPs. With lesser oversight over supply chains, state level attackers and other hackers can surreptitiously modify integrated circuits (ICs), printed circuit boards (PCBs), and firmware (FW) with hardware Trojans, kill switches, backdoors, and other malware. In addition, e-waste, obsolescence, geopolitical events, and pandemic-related disruptions are incentivizing and facilitating counterfeit electronics.

Hardware assurance refers to activities to ensure a level of confidence that electronics function as intended and are free of known vulnerabilities, either intentionally or unintentionally inserted into a system's hardware throughout its life cycle. Although reverse engineering is often presented in a negative light, it may be the only foolproof method for providing hardware assurance, especially for commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) ICs and PCBs where little prior information is available. In this talk, we shall present the recent advances in side-channel based FW reverse engineering as well as IC/PCB reverse engineering steps: delayering, imaging, automated image analysis, and automated annotation. Further, we will delineate the scenarios where reverse engineering can support hardware security and assurance. Finally, we will describe the gaps that need to be filled before realizing the ideal hardware assurance flows.

About speaker: Domenic Forte is an Associate Professor and the Steven A. Yatauro Faculty Fellow with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at University of Florida. His research covers the domain of hardware security from nano devices to printed circuit boards (PCBs) where he has nearly 200 publications. Dr. Forte is a senior member of the IEEE, a member of the ACM, and serves on the organizing committees of top conferences in hardware security such as HOST and AsianHOST. He also serves and has served on the technical program committees of DAC, ICCAD, NDSS, ITC, ISTFA, BTAS, and many more. Dr. Forte is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (ECASE) by Army Research Office (ARO), the NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award, and the ARO Young Investigator Award. His research has also been recognized with best paper awards and nominations from IJCB, ISTFA, HOST, DAC, and AHS.

29 th October, 2021

"Advances in Privacy-preserving Communication: Constructions, Analyses, and a Trilemma"
Prof. Aniket Kate, Purdue University

Recording of this talk: Click Here to view on YouTube

Time: 29th October, 2021, Friday 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm IST

Abstract: Privacy-preserving communication networks address a critical privacy threat arising from linking individuals to their online communication. Millions of users from all over the world employ privacy-preserving (meta-data hiding) communication networks, such as Tor, to protect their privacy over the Internet today. Their usage is bound to grow further as cryptocurrency networks become mainstream another blockchain systems proliferate. Despite this success, a comprehensive security analysis of these systems has been lacking. Over the last two decades, the academic literature has demonstrated Tor’s vulnerability to a variety of traffic correlation attacks, and in fact, it has been successfully attacked in practice. Nevertheless, frameworks for analyzing these complex systems did not exist, and we could notexamine different anonymity properties in a unified manner. In this talk, I will present our series of efforts over the last decade towards bridging this gap between practice and theory of meta-data hiding communication.

About speaker: Prof. Aniket Kate is an Associate Professor in the computer science department at Purdue University. He is an applied cryptographer and a privacy researcher. His research builds on and expands applied cryptography, distributed computing, and data-driven analysis to solve security/privacy problems in decentralized environments. His current projects focus on communication freedom and distributed ledgers (or blockchains). He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award for 2019 and has been advisors to three privacy-focused blockchain startups. Before joining Purdue in 2015, he was a junior faculty member at Saarland University, Germany. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS), Germany, and has received his Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, Canada.