Seminar: Attacking and defending systems at the hardware level

Event Date: 
Fri, 2017-09-22 11:15 - 12:15

Location:  2150 Torgersen Hall

Speaker: Matthew Hicks,CS@VT


In this talk, I will present a survey of my research on hardware security
(i.e., attacking and defending systems at the hardware level).  First, I
will show how a fabrication-time attacker can leverage the analog
properties of digital circuits to create hardware-level privilege
escalation attacks that achieve both hardware-level stealth (i.e.,
requiring as little as one gate) and software-level stealth (i.e.,
requiring an unlikely trigger sequence).  Second, I will outline a new
approach to chip design that acts as a defense to such attacks by focusing
on protecting security-critical wires/gates in a design from modification
by an untrusted foundry---essentially closing the security loop around an
untrusted foundry.  Third, I will share the results of a recent project
that uses energy harvesting techniques as an isolation primitive to
eliminate power and timing side channels from hardware.


Matthew Hicks is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Virginia
Tech. Previously, Matthew was member of the technical staff at MIT Lincoln
Laboratory, he spent one year as a lecturer and two years as a postdoc in
Computer Science at the University of Michigan.  His research interests
span Security, Architecture, and Embedded Systems.  His current projects
address hardware security, hardware for security, batteryless devices, and
fuzz-based testing.  His research has been used by military contractors,
hardware security startups, and has inspired others to devise code analysis
techniques aimed at uncovering malicious hardware.  He earned a PhD in 2013
and a MS in 2008, both in Computer Science from the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign.  He earned a BS in Computer Science from the
University of Central Florida in 2006.