With the emergence of information technology and its critical and indispensable role in our daily lives and the increasing complexity of networked computing systems, the risk of cyber-attacks is larger today than ever before that makes modern systems vulnerable to various attacks against their resources, infrastructure, and functioning. While the reasons for such attacks may be tied to complex sociological issues, the defense solutions to confront them should be continuously studied for all system layers, i.e., Physics and Material, Nano-electronic Device, Nano-electronic Device-Level Circuit, Gate-Level Circuit and Register Transfer Level (RTL), Micro-architecture, Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), Operating System and Virtual Machine, Programming Language, Algorithm, and Application. While there are abundant works on security of traditional software elements in computing systems, the research efforts on the security of hardware components as well as the intelligent hardware-software elements are insufficient, so the scientific community still lacks adequate and reliable knowledge about their principles, existing and emerging threats, and countermeasures for making the systems secure and protected.
The complexity of the design, fabrication, and distribution of electronics has caused a shift throughout the industry toward a global business model, thereby creating new sources of system vulnerabilities. In such a model, untrusted entities participate either directly or indirectly in all phases in the life of an electronic device or integrated circuit (IC). Due to this globalization, hardware underlying information systems have become increasingly targets of various malicious and stealthy attacks. To ensure the security of our critical infrastructure, the use of trusted hardware is absolutely necessary. On the other side, several security issues have been raised in critical infrastructures due to the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in real-world applications (e.g., driver-less cars, biometric/speech recognition system, and healthcare system) thanks to its provision of superior performance in identification and cognitive tasks. Besides several offenses on “normal” AI systems, the methods from AI can be leveraged by adversaries to perform intelligent malicious activities, leading to detrimental social, physical, and economic impacts. As a result, it is extremely challenging and timely mission for academic, industrial, and governmental institutions to comprehensively study and analyze the security aspects of hardware components and intelligent hardware-software elements in computing systems. Motivated by the above matters, Professor Taheri’s research projects include all directions of “Hardware Security” (refer to its Book 1 and Book 2) and “Security Aspects of Artificial Intelligence” (refer to its Book 1 and Book 2), aiming to make the next generation of computing systems more trustworthy. A number of these directions are mentioned in the following:
System-on-Chip (SoC) Security and Trust.
Security of Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-Based Embedded Systems.
Positive and Negative Applications of Emerging Transistor and Memory Technologies in Hardware Security.
Verification of Intellectual Property (IP) Security and Trust.
Physical Inspection and Assurance of Electronics.
Positive and Negative Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Security and Anomaly Detection.
Secure and Trusted AI Systems.
Positive and Negative Applications of Certain Areas from the Industries of Tomorrow, Including Quantum Computing and Computer Vision in Secure and Efficient Circuit and System Design.
Biometrics and Security.
Internet-of-Things (IoT) Security.
Security of Electronics and Non-Electronics Supply Chain.
Security of Cyber Physical Systems.
Post-Quantum and Applied Cryptography and Privacy.
Security of Cloud and Distributed Systems.
Internet and Mobile Security.
Systems and Storage Security.
The academic contributions of the projects are determined to be development of scientific elements of Cyber Engineering (CYENG) and Cybersecurity (CYSEC) along with related innovative technologies that transform the design, test, and security assessment of large and small enterprises as well as critical applications, such as healthcare systems, power grid systems, financial systems, military systems, transportation systems, etc. They include educational items with various modules, such as seminar series, tutorials, short courses, educational tools and software, and lecture videos. These research efforts provide unique learning opportunities for graduate, undergraduate, and even high school students along with certain entities from enterprises. There are also specific plans for underrepresented trainees.