A Virtual Lab for a Hardware Security Curriculum
Wednesday, September 18, 3:50-4:45pm - Presentation

Computing devices are ever-present in our life whether in computers, cell phones, or in the abundance of microcontrollers that manage the various systems we interact with on a daily basis. In addition to our personal lives, computer systems are also integrated into every part of our infrastructure – whether it be financial systems, communication systems, transportation, or defense. Thus, these computer systems are an obvious target for those who intend to corrupt the systems for financial, political or other reasons. While software system security is a mature field with abundant research and training, protecting the hardware and ensuring its trustworthiness is a less studied field. As such, it is critical that we develop a curriculum that trains future hardware security engineers. In previous work, we have developed two courses in hardware security with the help of funding from the NSF TUES program. The goal of this proposal is to create such a curriculum and more importantly enable the adoption and distribution of this curriculum through the use of a virtual laboratory. The first hardware security course is a broad introduction to hardware security topics such as hardware Trojans, side channel attacks, and counterfeit detection. This course is easily transferable to other institutions and one of the PIs has edited a book that can serve as a textbook for the class. The second class is a hands-on “hardware hacking” class where students can work on specialized hardware to try out various hardware-based attacks. This class is less transferable because of the need to use specific hardware. Since the hardware lab components can be very expensive, we propose to create a virtual laboratory where students from other institutions can remote use the hardware in the University of Connecticut lab. The Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science departments at the University of Connecticut will collaborate on the effort. Eastern Connecticut State University is a primarily undergraduate institution and the virtual laboratory will be used in certain computer science classes there. These students will serve as an independent evaluation of the program.