Ryan Kastner (UC San Diego)

"Property Driven Hardware Security"

Ryan Kastner

Copyright: Ryan Kastner

Abstract. The current state of the art for hardware design security relies heavily on functional verification, manual inspection, and code review to identify security vulnerabilities. This labor-intensive process does not scale, it significantly reduces productivity, and worst of all provides no guarantee that a security flaw will be identified. Continuing on with the status quo leaves hardware susceptible to a variety of attacks manifested through hardware, firmware, and software vulnerabilities. This talk describes a property driven approach to hardware security, which enables automatic verification of security properties on a hardware design. This encompasses three efforts: 1) developing expressive security property languages, 2) building comprehensive models that describe the security-related behaviors of a hardware design, and 3) creating tools that can verify the security properties on these models in an efficient manner.

Biography. Ryan Kastner is a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego. His research is broad, varied, ever-changing, and hard to summarize, but for the sake of this talk it is focused on making hardware more secure. He and his collaborators have developed some of the earliest work on FPGA security, 3D integrated circuit security, and hardware information flow tracking. His work on gate level information flow tracking is being commercialized by the company Tortuga Logic, which he co-founded. Completely unrelated to this talk is research related to developing custom cyber-physical systems. He co-founded and co-directs the Engineers for Exploration program, which partners with archaeologists, biologists, ecologists, and marine scientists to create unique embedded computing systems with the goal of furthering their scientific research.  Technologies developed in this program (and Ryan) were featured in the National Geographic Docuseries “Ancient China from Above”. E4E has involved hundreds of undergraduates over the past decade and is the foundation of an National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate site that will start its ninth year in Summer 2020. If you care to know more about Ryan, see

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