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Computer Science: Fully Funded CENSUS Labs and Swansea University PhD Scholarship: Model-Based Security Testing for Hardware Fault Injection

   School of Mathematics and Computer Science

  Prof Siraj Ahmed Shaikh  Friday, November 18, 2022  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Funding providers: CENSUS Labs and Swansea University

Subject areas: Computer Science

Project start date: 

  • 1 January 2023 (Enrolment open from mid-December)

Project supervisors: 

  • Professor Siraj Ahmed Shaikh
  • Dr Hoang Nga Nguyen

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Computer Science

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description: 

Model-based security testing has the potential to provide for systematic testing and evaluation of implementations. Security testing of embedded systems (as part of an increasing real-world need for IoT evaluation and certification) is increasingly being adopted in a number of sectors. In collaboration with CENSUS Labs, who are involved in real-world security testing and assurance of systems, this project would develop a formal framework for model-based testing. The model will have to represent the environment, I/O interfaces, internal implementation complexities, and also account for a threat model to represent attacker behaviour. Following from this, a test case generation algorithm would be implemented to account for systematic faults and manipulated sequences to evaluate the system. The project will implement a bespoke test bench, in close collaboration with CENSUS Labs, to automate this tool chain with the ultimate view to assurance against established standards and best practices. The existing configuration provided by embedded systems emulated on an FPGA development environment is a likely test platform for this purpose. A hostile communications environment would be used to emulate attacks established in the literature. Use case from consumer and automotive IoT are likely candidates for early testing against known safety- and liveness-related security properties.


Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level in Computer Science, Mathematics or a closely related discipline, or an appropriate master’s degree with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’ (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University).

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 6.0 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK candidate only.

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £17,668.
Additional research expenses will also be available.

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