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Hardware security: trends and pitfalls of the past decade

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It has been a long time since the hardware security problems in semiconductor chips were brought to light by Ross Anderson and Markus Kuhn in the late nineties, followed shortly by Markus Kuhn and Oliver Kommerling paper on the forefront attack technologies used for breaking smartcards. Now it seems quite logical to look at the progress made in this area as a whole decade has passed since that time. The defence technology has been significantly improved, but the attackers did not sit idle and made some progress as well. The question is whether the lessons were learned and whether we have significantly better hardware security protection in semiconductor devices around us today.

The purpose of this talk is not only in summarising achievements at both the attack and defence ends. I will raise some concerns about certain security failures, point out common mistakes made by chip manufacturers and discuss possible roots of such problems. Finally, I will try to project the trend of hardware security area into the nearest future.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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