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Protecting Analog Sensor Security

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Why are undergraduates taught to hold the digital abstraction as sacrosanct and unquestionable? Why do microprocessors blindly trust input from sensors, and what can be done to establish trust in unusual input channels in cyberphysical systems? Risks of analog sensor security pose challenges to autonomous vehicles, medical devices, and the Internet of Things. Analog sensor security builds upon classic research in fault injection and side channels. Paradoxically, analog security can reduce risks by detecting an adversary via the physics of computation. I will explain approaches for computers to distinguish real signals from fake signals, as well as technology that exploits beneficial side channels in AC power outlets to detect malware. I’ll explain modulation attacks based on Ghost Talk [Foo Kune et al., IEEE S&P] and WALNUT [Trippel et al., IEEE Euro S&P] whereby intentional electromagnetic and acoustic interference causes chosen failures and unintentional demodulation systems ranging from fitbits and implantable medical devices to drones and phones. This work brings some closure to my curiosity on why a cordless phone would ring whenever I executed certain memory operations on the video graphics chip of an Apple IIGS .

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

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