Start Date: 1 October 2021
Supervisors: Dr Chongyan Gu, Prof Maire O'Neill and Prof Paul Marapoulos Nowadays, many today’s industrial approaches require transformative changes to ensure long term societal, economic and environmental resilience and sustainability. This project explores the potential of emerging digital technologies, such as hardware security, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT), to transform the way we design, manufacture and operate products and services. The programme offers a bespoke research and training programme that aims to develop students into cross-disciplinary, industry-conscious thinkers and leaders who will influence the roadmaps of future advanced manufacturing technologies and their applications. They will have a balanced understanding of ICT (security and data analytics) in the context of their application to advanced manufacturing and high value design.
The Internet of Things (IoT), enabling smart devices and machines widely and intelligently connected, has led to the development of smart factories. The development of Industry 4.0 reduces production downtime, optimizes manufacturing system efficiency and improves product design. However, the move to industrial IoT devices and machine-to-machine communication poses serious security and privacy issues as there is not direct control over the connected devices. This opens up new attack vectors for hackers to exploit including the threat of malicious or tampered devices. Attacks have already been demonstrated against network-connected light bulbs, automation devices and smart car systems. The globalisation of the IoT device manufacturing process had led to a significant increase in the potential for malicious access, modification and counterfeiting of devices. It is crucial for innovative manufacturing systems to be securely designed and built.
Silicon physical unclonable functions (PUFs), which exploit manufacturing variations of silicon chips, offer a promising mechanism that can be used in many security, protection and digital rights management applications. Such a primitive has a number of desirable properties from a security perspective, such as the ability to provide a low-cost unique identifier for an integrated circuit (IC) or to provide a variability aware circuit that returns a device specific response to an input challenge. This gives it an advantage over current state-of-art alternatives such as secure non-volatile memory (NVM) or trusted platform modules (TPMs). No special manufacturing processes are required to integrate a PUF into a design. This lowers the overall cost of the security for the IC enabling the PUF to be utilised as a hardware root of trust for all security or identity related operations on the device.
However, PUF based authentication/identification schemes are vulnerable to a number of security attacks including machine learning based modelling attacks and physical cloning attacks. The aim of this project is to develop a secure PUF design, which can deliver a corner stone for building unforgeable devices. A low-cost secure PUF-based authentication/identification scheme will lead to a step change in meeting the stringent security requirements of a number of key areas of the digital economy such as Industry 4.0, IoT, and the hardware supply chain.
The School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) aims to enhance the way we use technology in communication, data science, computing systems, cyber security, power electronics, intelligent control, and many related areas.
You’ll be part of a dynamic doctoral research environment and will study alongside students from over 40 countries worldwide; we supervise students undertaking research in key areas of electronics and electrical engineering, including: power electronics, robotics, wireless communications, cybersecurity and sensor-based systems. As part of a lively community of over 100 full-time and part-time research students you’ll have the opportunity to develop your research potential in a vibrant research community that prioritises the cross-fertilisation of ideas and innovation in the advancement of knowledge.
Within the School we have a number of specialist research centres including a Global Research Institute, the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) specialising in Cyber Security, Wireless Innovation and Data Science and scalable computing.
Many PhD studentships attract scholarships and top-up supplements. PhD programmes provide our students with the opportunity to acquire an extensive training in research techniques.
Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities undertaken within the School and there are many resources available including:
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