NSF grant awarded for collaborative research on enhancing security and trust

Research Highlight
Electrical and Computer Engineering

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded funding to Dr. Fareena Saqib, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Comuter Engineering at UNC Charlotte for a collaborative research in hardware security of embedded systems. The project is entitled as “Techniques for Enhancing the Security and Trust of FPGAs-Based Systems”. The $500,000, 3-year grant will develop techniques for enhancing the security and trust of FPGA based systems. The project investigates countermeasures to side-channel-based attack mechanisms; and focuses on developing methods that makes hardware designs resilient to differential and correlation power analysis. Several strategies will be investigated in collaboration with University of New Mexico (UNM) and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

The project was selected for funding by NSF’s CORE Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace Program under the Directorate for Computer and Information Science & Engineering, Division of Computer and Network Systems. This project addresses the need for stronger, hardware-based security and emerging trust concerns in modern microelectronic systems. Techniques that leverage dynamic partial reconfiguration (DPR) as countermeasures to differential power analysis (DPA) will play a central role in this research but other techniques including noise injection countermeasures and true random number generators (TRNGs) will also be investigated. Resource-constrained system architectures represent the target hardware platform of this research. The methods will also be evaluated on system-on-chip (SoC) FPGAs that are increasingly used in larger, high-security systems found in aerospace and defense, industrial control systems (SCADA) and automotive and autonomous vehicles.