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Hardware security anchors: analysis and designs

Project Description

A hardware security anchor in a computing device is a hardware feature intended to make the platform more secure than can be achieved by software alone. Examples include: TPM, Intel SGX, ARM TrustZone, and platform security processors like the Google Titan chip. The objectives of the project are:
1. To perform thorough security evaluations on a variety of hardware security anchors or enclaves being developed and marketed for user devices such as laptops and smartphones.
2. To enhance those security mechanisms for user-centric applications. In particular, we address the challenges of user authentication in a device-rich IoT world.
3. To directly contribute to the security of tomorrow’s COTS devices.
4. To provide convincing demonstrators of our mechanisms and use cases.

The project is led by Mark Ryan, Flavio Garcia and David Oswald. Our project partners HP Labs are also devoting time to the project, and the PhD students and postdocs working on the project will have the opportunity to spend time with them.

Applicants can apply to focus on either evaluating the security of hardware anchors; suitable candidates will have a strong background in low-level hardware and programming, or, on authentication applications; good candidates will have a background in applied crypto, protocol design and analysis. Other candidates with a strong academic record will also be considered.

Candidates are encouraged to send their CV, a transcript with a list of courses and grades, and a description of their research interests to Mark Ryan, Flavio Garcia and David Oswald as soon as possible for informal discussion about their suitability. The PhD candidate is expected to start in September or October 2019.

Funding Notes

A stipend of £15,009 per year for 3.5 years. Tuition fees based on UK/EU fees are also covered. One studentship is funded by the School of Computer Science. The other one is part-funded by HP Labs and part-funded by the School of Computer Science. The project will additionally cover a laptop, equipment, software and travel to attend conferences and summer schools.

If your first language is not English and you have not studied in an English-speaking country, you will have to provide an English language qualification.


Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Computer Science and Informatics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 40.60

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