EC 700 Hardware and Systems Security

Fall 2018

Course description

The course introduces students to hardware approaches to cybersecurity. Through lectures, reading assignments and projects, students will gain in-depth knowledge of the role that hardware plays in cybersecurity and computer hardware related attacks and defense in computing systems. Topics covered are: (i) computing systems security requirements: integrity and authentication, among others; (ii) core security techniques: encryption algorithms, key distribution and management; (iii) hardware attacks: hardware Trojans, side-channel attacks, fault attacks, hardware counterfeiting; (iv) trusted hardware primitives: trusted digital system design, circuit obfuscation, trust platform modules, physical unclonable functions, true random number generators; and (v) secure embedded and mobile devices. Student will be introduced to major secure processor architectures or features such as Intel's Software Guard Extensions (SGX) and Trusted Execution Technology (TXT), ARM TrustZone Technology and derived processor architectures, MIT Aegis Secure Processor, Apple Secure Enclave Processor (SEP), and BU Hermes and Sphinx Architectures.


The course will enhance students' preparation to identify, understand and potential propose hardware-as-root-of-trust solutions for the most pressing cyber security problems. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • distinguish between software and hardware security;
  • identify the sources and manifestations of hardware-centric cyber threats;
  • understand the potential of information leakage at microprocessors, memories and memory organizations, and on-chip networks levels;
  • categorize hardware security solutions;
  • evaluate computing system in terms of performance, reliability, and security;
  • effectively assess new hardware security approaches.

Textbook (No Textbook Required)

M. Tehranipoor and C. Wang, Introduction to Hardware Security and Trust, Springer, 2011 (Recommended)

Term Office Hours

  • Prof. Kinsy: PHO 335 - Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:00PM to 3:00PM and by appointment.