Researchers develop an algorithm that defends against side-channel attacks on hardware
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati developed an algorithm that safeguards hardware from attacks to steal data. In these attacks, hackers detect variations of power and electromagnetic radiation in electronic devices’ hardware and then use that variation to steal encrypted information.
The UC researchers recently published their work in the Institute of Engineering and Technology Journal.
The findings shape the future of hardware security in innovative and impactful ways, staples of UC’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here.
Electronic devices are more secure than ever before. Devices that used to rely on passwords now use Touch ID, or even face-recognition software. Unlocking our phones is like entering a 21st century Batcave, with high-tech security measures guarding every entry.
But protecting software is only one part of electronic security. Hardware is also susceptible to attacks.
“In general, we believe that because we write secure software, we can secure everything,” said University of Wyoming assistant professor Mike Borowczak, Ph.D., who graduated from UC. He and his advisor, UC professor Ranga Vemuri, Ph.D., led the project.
“Regardless of how secure you make your software, if your hardware leaks information, you can basically bypass all those security mechanisms,” Borowczak said.
Devices such as remote car keys, cable boxes and even credit card chips are all vulnerable to hardware attacks, mostly because of their design. These devices are small and lightweight and typically operate on minimal power. Engineers optimize designs, so the devices can work within these low-power constraints.
“The problem is if you try to absolutely minimize all the time, you’re basically selectively optimizing,” said Borowczak. “You’re optimizing for speed, power, area and cost, but you’re taking a hit on security.”
Regardless of how secure you make your software, if your hardware leaks information, you can basically bypass all those security mechanisms.
Mike Borowczak,University of Wyoming assistant professor, former UC Ph.D. student
Here’s how a device becomes vulnerable to attacks: When something like a cable box turns on, it decodes and encodes specific manufacturer information tied to its security. This decoding and encoding process draws more power and emits more electromagnetic radiation than when all of the other functions are on. Over time, these variations in power and radiation create a pattern unique to that cable box, and that unique signature is exactly what hackers are looking for.
“If you could steal information from something like a DVR early on, you could basically use it to reverse engineer and figure out how the decryption was happening,” Borowczak said.
And hackers don’t need physical access to a device to take this information. Attackers can remotely detect frequencies in car keys and break into a car from more than 100 yards away.
We’ve basically equalized the amount of power consumed across all the cycles, whereby even if attackers have power measurements, they can’t do anything with that information.
Ranga Vemuri,UC professor
To secure the hardware in these devices, Vemuri and Borowczak went back to square one: the device’s design.
Borowczak and Vemuri aim to restructure their design and code them in a way that doesn’t leak information. To do this, they developed an algorithm to design more secure hardware.
“You take the design specification and restructure it at an algorithmic level, so that the algorithm, no matter how it is implemented, draws the same amount of power in every cycle,” Vemuri said. “We’ve basically equalized the amount of power consumed across all the cycles, whereby even if attackers have power measurements, they can’t do anything with that information.”
What’s left is a more secure device with a more automated design. Rather than manually securing each hardware component, the algorithm automates the process. On top of that, a device created using this algorithm only uses about 5 percent more power than an insecure device, making the work commercially viable.
Software and hardware security is an ongoing game of cat and mouse: As security technologies improve, hackers eventually find ways around these barriers. Hardware security is further complicated by the expanding network of devices and their interactivity, also known as the Internet of Things.
Innovative research, like the work by Vemuri and Borowczak, can give people an extra layer of safety and security in this future of connected devices.
The Latest on: Hardware security
via Google News
The Latest on: Hardware security
- Hardware Security Modules Market Revenue Emerging Key Players Supply Demand Investment Feasibility and Forecast 2024 Worldwideon November 26, 2020 at 6:17 am
Global Hardware Security Modules Market 2020 industry research report gives Advancement strategies and plans are ...
- Global Hardware Security Modules (HSM) Market Overview Report by 2020-2025on November 25, 2020 at 6:42 pm
Scope of the Report The global Hardware Security Modules HSM market size is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2020 to 2025 with a CAGR of 11 2 in the forecast period of 2020 to ...
- Security Gaps In Open Source Hardware And AIon November 25, 2020 at 12:04 am
Why AI systems are so difficult to secure, and what strategies are being deployed to change that. Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss security risks across multiple market segments with ...
- “Microsoft Pluton Hardware Security Coming to Our CPUs”: AMD, Intel, Qualcommon November 23, 2020 at 11:15 am
Pioneered in both Xbox consoles and Microsoft’s Azure Sphere ecosystem, the Pluton Security Processor enables a full-stack chip-to-cloud security akin to a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). The TPM has ...
- Microsoft Announces Pluton Processor for Better Hardware Securityon November 20, 2020 at 3:20 am
Microsoft has announced the launch of a security processor designed to provide stronger hardware and software integration for Windows PCs to remove entire vectors of attack. Named the Pluton and built ...
- New Microsoft Pluton Security Chip Protects Windows PCs From Hardware Attackson November 18, 2020 at 12:24 pm
Microsoft has unveiled a new security chip called Pluton that has been designed to protect the future Windows PCs. The Pluton security processor will ...
- Microsoft's Pluton chip upgrades the hardware security of Windows PCson November 17, 2020 at 6:06 am
The next Windows PC you buy could come with an advanced security co-processor that will protect your data from being stolen by hackers.
- Microsoft urges users to stop using phone-based multi-factor authenticationon November 11, 2020 at 9:20 pm
Best security keys in 2020: Hardware-based two-factor authentication for online protection While robust passwords go a long way to securing your valuable online accounts, hardware-based two-factor ...
- Hub Security partners with leading Swiss cybersecurity firm to provide Cryptographic Hardwareon November 9, 2020 at 6:14 am
Hub Security utilizes military-grade cybersecurity principles for its Vault HSM (Hardware Security Module), and handheld miniHSM device with FIPS approved cryptographic algorithm validation as ...
- Hardware Security Module Market Application, Innovations, Geography and Global Forecast 2020on November 6, 2020 at 7:55 am
Thehardware security module market study includes an exhaustive analysis of thekey market drivers, market challenges, and the overall market structure. Hardware Security ModuleMarket Introduction ...
via Bing News